DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed charges against three officers accused of contributing to the death of a 32-year-old Rockwall man.
It was last December when Sgt. Kevin Mansell, Officer Danny Vasquez and Officer Dustin Dillard — all with the Dallas Police Department — were indicted on misdemeanor deadly conduct charges in connection with the death of Anthony “Tony” Timpa.
In August of 2016 Timpa called 911 saying he was afraid and needed help. An hour later the unarmed, handcuffed man was dead.
The officers were accused of restraining Timpa in a way that led to his death. While much of what took place in the hour between the emergency call and Timpa’s in-custody death was captured by the officers’ body cameras, the department has never released those tapes to the public.
Attorneys for the Timpa family were able to obtain that video footage through a lawsuit. According to that suit, the body camera videos show Officer Dillard putting his knee into Timpa’s back for 14 minutes.
The suit claims Timpa could not breathe as he lay with his face buried in the ground and repeatedly told officers, “You’re going to kill me”.
According to the suit, after Timpa became unresponsive Officer Dillard is heard saying, “I hope I didn’t kill him”.
The medical examiner ruled Timpa’s death a homicide, and listed the cause as “sudden cardiac death” caused from “the toxic effects of cocaine and physiological stress associated with physical restraint.”
The District Attorney’s Office said today’s “decision to dismiss the charges was made following a lengthy investigation and determination as to the official cause of death of Mr. Timpa.”
The statement from the office further said —
“Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot met with all three medical examiners regarding their findings. They stated they do not believe the officers acted recklessly. Additionally, they cannot, and will not, testify to the elements of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.“
Proceedings for the civil rights lawsuit filed by the Timpa family were put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case. The family has been notified of the DAs decision not to prosecute. No word on if they’ll continue on with the suit.
The U.S. Department of Justice is also taking a look at the case.