DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Denton police released video Thursday of an officer-involved shooting that killed a 23-year-old college student in January.
Police Chief Frank Dixon said he did not want to release the video, but did so to avoid civil unrest after weeks of public protests demanding more transparency from the department about what happened to Darius Tarver.READ MORE: Lawmakers In Some States Move To Confront Threats Against Election Workers
Video from four police body cameras show Tarver was holding a large knife and a frying pan when police encountered him near the outside stairwell of his apartment building, The Forum at Denton Station.
When Tarver did not follow commands to drop the items, an officer shot him with a taser. Tarver stumbled toward officers, and one officer fired a single shot in his direction.
After several seconds on the ground, Tarver got back up, retrieved the pan and advanced toward officers again. That’s when the same officer fired two more times, killing him.
Dixon defended his officers, saying they acted professionally. He was critical of those who questioned the officer’s decisions in the shooting.
“We’re not going to allow people — no matter if it’s for your personal agenda, your political aspirations or even if you’re grieving — to say hateful things about our cops,” he said.READ MORE: Canceled! Elton John Postpones Dallas Shows Following Positive COVID Diagnosis
Before Thursday, Tarver’s father Kevin had been the only person outside of the department known to have seen portions of the incident on video. He said what he saw did not match up with the police narrative of the incident.
Dixon said Thursday that Kevin had only seen one angle of the incident, and then left the department quickly without seeing other videos.
He also said he did not feel the department’s refusal to release the video for several weeks had contributed to questions about what happened.
“What we were trying to do is let the investigative process work the way it’s supposed to,” he said. “The constitution is not malleable. It goes across everybody including cops. They deserve the same respect in the judicial process as everyone else.”
The chief said all four officers have returned to regular duty with the department.
An internal affairs investigation will not be completed, he said, until the district attorney presents the case to a grand jury and it returns a decision on any possible criminal charges.
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