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WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – CBS 11’s I-Team has obtained new video – this time from a police dash camera – that shows a patrol officer walk by a man lying in the street, hours before the man died.
The video shows a Weatherford police officer, in the dead of night, walk up to several people while 25-year-old Charles Alvarez is on the pavement, squirming, as traffic passed by him.
The I-Team had previously obtained surveillance video showing Alvarez begging for help in the booking area of the jail.
“I can’t breathe,” Alvarez told a jailer, who replied: “You’re doing just fine.”
Alvarez continued to insist: “No, I can’t breathe.”
Now, the dash-cam video shows what happened earlier that night — when Alvarez eventually rolls to the side of the street, and out of the police camera’s range.
It’s at that time that the officer appears to walk towards him, as the song, Stairway to Heaven, plays in the patrol car.
“That was really unusual …,” said Catherine Smit-Torrez, a former police chief, when shown the video of the officer walking up and talking to a member of the group that stood near the fallen Alvarez.
“To see he talks with him first, and just leaves the guy laying there just rolling through the street. It’s very, very unusual,” Smit-Torrez told the I-Team.
Weatherford Police Chief Mike Manning told the I-Team that the officer first approached the group of people, rather than going directly to Alvarez, to ensure that they were not a threat to the officer’s safety.
Two members of the group standing near Alvarez — Rachel Dover and Evan Gustin — are now charged with misdemeanor assault, alleging they were in a fight with Alvarez moments before he collapsed.
Police affidavits obtained by the I-Team said Dover admitted she “struck (Alvarez) in the head with a closed fist,” and that Gustin admitted he “pushed Charles down to the ground.”
The affidavits also said Alvarez’s “head and body caught the brunt of the impact,” and that Gustin “kicks Charles in the midsection of his body.”
Although Alvarez died, a Parker County grand jury decided not to indict anyone for his death.
Police have said that was largely due to a ruling by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, which has a contract with Parker County.
That ruling said Alvarez died from a lack of oxygen to the brain, hemorrhaging and “multi-organ failure,” but listed the cause as “undetermined.”
If you want to reach CBS 11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to reach CBS 11′s Jason Allen, you can email him at email@example.com.
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