DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas police shot a mentally challenged man earlier this week and the entire incident was caught on camera.
The man was standing in front of a neighbor’s home when police shot him. But now there’s a conflict — the officers’ description of the event and video from the neighbor’s security camera don’t match up.
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave — after a shooting that appears justified if you read the police report. Now, family members of the victim say a newly surfaced video of the incident proves that the police account of the incident is not the truth.
It was noon on Monday and the security camera in front of Maurice Bunch’s front door shows Bobby Bennett pacing in the middle of street. “I had a conversation with him saying ‘chill out, be cool,’” Bunch recalled.
Bennett, 52, suffers from schizophrenia and lives across the street from Bunch, with his mother Joyce Jackson.
According to Jackson, her son was off his medication and upset with her. “I did feel the need to call 911,” she said. Jackson said she contacted police because she was worried about her son’s safety.
Jackson claims officers were aware it was a mental health call when they arrived to find Bennett sitting in a chair. Video shows their guns were drawn when they ordered him to drop a knife. He stands up with his arms at his side when at least one of the officer’s fires four rounds, Bennett was hit in the stomach.
Bennett’s mother says the video makes her sick. But she’s now grateful for the recording because she says it proves the officers lied in a police report that says her son lunged at the officers with the knife. Referring back to the video, Jackson said, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life. He never approached them. He never came at them in a threatening manner.”
Both witnesses and Jackson say the shooting was completely unwarranted.
“I feel the most important thing from the Lord is Maurice had that tape, so that people can see this does happen. It happens when things aren’t the way the police say,” Jackson said.
Dallas police released a statement that said the department would investigate the incident. The release included a statement from Chief David Brown that said, “I will be extending the normal leave time [of the officers] indefinitely.”
Bennett remains in intensive care at Baylor Hospital. He faces a charge for attempted assault of a police officer.
Meanwhile, an advocacy group called Justice Seekers Texas is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the case and nearly two dozen other officer-involved shootings.
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