NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A high-speed chase through the streets of North Texas ends with an officer shooting and killing a suspect. The officer involved could face up to 20 years in prison for what has now been deemed a crime.
In a rare move, a Dallas County Grand Jury has indicted Patrick Tuter, a former Garland police officer, for manslaughter. It was August of last year when Tuter fired 41 bullets at unarmed suspect Michael Vincent Allen.
It’s been three years since a police officer has been indicted for an on-duty shooting in Dallas County. Today’s action is only the second time in 17 years that an officer has been indicted.
Now Patrick Tuter’s attorney is questioning whether it was appropriate for Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins to allow the grand jury to hear not only factual evidence but also testimony from the parents of the shooting victim.
Police radio traffic suggests it was a routine chase. It traveled down a northeast Dallas freeway and involved a 25-year-old man who had some outstanding warrants.
Suspect Michael Allen’s father, Randy Allen, said that his son “…was scared of police. Michael ran from police every time he heard a siren.”
Randy Allen says his son was prone to minor trouble, but always afraid of getting caught. That fear may have led to a fatal confrontation on a Mesquite street. That’s where Garland officers cornered Michael Allen and bullets started flying.
There was no crossfire because Allen was unarmed and the only shots that were fired were from Officer Tuter. He shot a total of 41 rounds at the suspect who was sitting in his pickup truck and died in the driver’s seat.
A police dog pulled Michael Allen’s body out of the vehicle by the neck and face. Allen’s father said, “We had to have reconstructive surgery on his face so we could have an open casket.”
For more than a year Allen’s parents pressed authorities to prosecute the officer who had since been fired by Garland PD. Monday that former officer was indicted for manslaughter.
Allen’s family members said, “We never gave up and the justice system is working out right.”
There are more than 20 bullet holes visible in the pickup truck Michael Allen was driving on the night he was killed, including several in the backseat. Allen’s parents have kept the vehicle “as is” so that it may be used as evidence in their federal lawsuit against Tuter.
Allen’s parents say the anticipated proceeds from the lawsuit will go to provide for their son’s offspring. Michael’s mother, Stephanie Allen, said, “I want justice for Michael and his daughter.”
An attorney for former Officer Tuter released a statement saying,
“Patrick Tuter did not commit a crime. It’s a shame that, on Veteran’s Day, instead of honoring Patrick for his military service in Iraq, he gets indicted for actions that are completely justified.”
Allen’s parents took issue with the statement and said Tuter’s military background should have made him better trained him. The couple also said they are still waiting for an apology from Garland police, which has declined comment.
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