Texas Cops Refuse to say why they Shot Unarmed Man in Head during Traffic Stop
It's been more than a month since Michael Dean was shot in the head by a Texas cop and his family is still demanding to know why.
But two law enforcement agencies involved in the case have refused to release any details other than the 26-year-old man was not armed when he was killed by Temple police officer Carmen DeCruz on December 2, according to the NY Times.
Dean's family believes DeCruz should be fired, arrested and charged with murder, family attorney Lee Merritt said. Dean was killed on his daughter Te’yanna's sixth birthday.
DeCruz was one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed in January 2017 after a boy who authorities said was fleeing along with two other suspects following an armed home invasion and attempted robbery in January 2015 ended up pinned beneath a patrol car driven by a second officer, suffering burns for 15 minutes.
DeCruz and the other officers claimed they were not aware the boy was beneath the car. But the boy's family believed it was intentional because the smell of burning flesh should have tipped them off, according to the Dallas Morning News.
In the recent case, the Dean family held a press conference at the Bell County Justice Center calling for transparency in the case. The Temple, Texas branch of the NAACP protested the Temple Police Department's response to the shooting by conducting a organized march to the police department.
The incident report issued by Temple Police Investigations said Dean:
“Did not carry, exhibit or use a deadly weapon, and the shooting occurred as a result of a Traffic Stop/Evading."
Dean was pulled over at 8:12 p.m. It’s unclear what the initial traffic stop was for. The circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been revealed by the Texas Rangers, who are leading the investigation. The Temple Police Department has not released any details either.
DeCruz has been with the department for nine years and has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
HISTORY OF MISCONDUCT
The Temple Police Department has a history of bad behavior among their officers. In March 2019 Temple Police Department Officer Brandon Mathiews was arrested on charges of child pornography possession, KWTX News reports.
Three officers from the department were suspended for excessive force violations on a man identified as Larry Parker from a August 10, 2016 encounter, KCENTV reports.