TEMPLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — It’s been more than a week since a 28-year-old man was fatally shot in the head by a police officer in Texas and authorities haven’t released many details about the deadly incident.
Michael Dean was killed on December 2 in Temple, located about 130 miles south of Dallas.
Dallas attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Dean’s family, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the silence of the Temple Police Department is “completely unfair and particularly cruel” to Dean’s family.
“I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen a case where there was absolutely no narrative, even if it was one that was later proved wrong,” Merritt said. “Our primary concern is criminal accountability for the officer. Our lateral concern is civil responsibility for the department.”
Merritt said the lack of details indicates to him that it was a “very bad incident in terms of police officer conduct.”
“Typically, law enforcement, if they had a narrative that worked for them, they would release it,” he said.
Temple police identified Dean as the victim the day after the shooting and on Tuesday identified the officer as Carmen DeCruz. Police said DeCruz wasn’t injured and per standard practice was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation of the shooting.
The Temple Daily Telegram reports that a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday ruled Dean’s death a homicide and said he was shot in the head.
Police Chief Jim Tobin said at a news conference Friday that while said he understood the “concerns and questions” of Dean’s family and the community, he plans to answer the questions following the completion of the investigation.
The Texas Rangers are assisting in the investigation, but a spokesman Wednesday said he had no additional information.
Merritt said that a couple of hours before Dean was shot to death at 8:15 p.m., he had been talking to the mother of his 6-year-old daughter about buying a birthday cake for the girl for a weekend celebration. Merritt said Dean, a father of three who worked the night shift at an automotive parts warehouse, had been set to go to work at 11 p.m.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)