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Fired Dallas Police Officer Was Minutes Away From Arrest

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been one week since surveillance video of a police shooting first came to light. The recording shows Dallas Police Department Officer Cardan Spencer shooting a mentally ill man.

Once the recording was viewed it also became apparent the police report that was filed and the video did not match up.

Now, after a swift investigation, Dallas Police Chief David Brown took action. Initially the plan was to not only fire Officer Spencer but arrest him as well.

In fact, an attorney for Officer Spencer said police wouldn’t allow his client to leave headquarters for more than an hour after he was officially terminated. CBS 11 News learned that during that time officers were scrambling to get an arrest warrant for Aggravated Assault, but a judge refused to sign it and instead referred the case to a grand jury.

“Officers are not above the law,” Chief Brown said firmly. “We as a police department are not going to look the other way.”

The Chief came down hard on Officer Spencer, who was caught on video surveillance shooting 52-year-old Bobby Bennett.

After news of the firing Bennett’s mother, Joyce Jackson, said, “This is a good day, but it’s a very sad day for me as well.”

While Jackson said the officer who shot her son deserved the punishment he received, her family is still sympathetic. “When I told my son this police officer was fired, the very first words he said were ‘mom, does he have a family?’”

Police said in an interview that Bennett admitted he was suicidal and wanted to be shot by police.

Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston said, “I think the officer had to defend himself and his partner, because he feared his life and his partner’s life were in jeopardy.”

Pinkston also claimed that the internal investigation was rushed. He said it was, “…unprecedented for the Dallas Police Department to do it in nine days.”

Chief Brown, though, says the department is still investigating the incident and is now focused on Spencer’s partner – Officer Christopher Watson.

In a police report Officer Watson claimed, Bennett had taken two steps forward and raised a knife, before his partner fired.

“We were really taken aback that the first statement written by Officer Watson is not what happened,” Chief Brown said. “We’re really struggling with how did he see something that didn’t happen.”

CBS 11 News talked with the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing Officer Watson, and they said since the investigation concerning him is still open they did not feel they could make any statements.

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