Neighbor's video footage contradicts Dallas police officer who shot mentally ill man
DALLAS — Surveillance video showing a Dallas police officer shooting a mentally ill man standing still about 20 feet away contradicts the assertion of an officer that the man threatened his safety by lunging at him with a knife.
Bobby Gerald Bennett remains hospitalized from being shot in the stomach Monday.
The officer who shot him, Cardan Spencer, is on indefinite administrative leave pending a criminal investigation since a neighbor released surveillance video that captured the incident.
Bennett was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant, but police Chief David Brown announced Friday that the charge would be dropped.
Bennett's mother, Joyce Jackson, said on Friday that her 52-year-old son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and that he was off his medication at the time of the shooting. Jackson said she was arguing with Bennett when she called the police. She was told that officers who have been trained in dealing with the mentally ill would arrive to assist her.
The officers arrived outside her southeast Dallas home around noon to find Bennett sitting on a chair in the street and holding a knife. At this point, accounts of the incident differ.
Spencer wrote in a police report that Bennett refused to drop the knife and moved toward him and another officer “in a threatening manner.” Spencer says that's when he fired at Bennett four times from about 20 feet away, wounding him.
The video tells a different story. Although the police report says Bennett “lunged” at the officers with a knife, in the video he stands up from the chair but then doesn't appear to move at all until the gun is fired and he crumples to the ground.
The surveillance video does not include audio, and Spencer wrote in his report that Bennett yelled at them, “You all are gonna need more officers than this!” But it doesn't show that the incident “escalated, which led an officer to fire his weapon upon the individual,” as police spokesman Warren Mitchell said in a statement a few hours after the shooting.
Brown said in a statement on Thursday night that Spencer has been placed on indefinite administrative leave pending a “thorough criminal investigation.”
Jackson said she and her son had been arguing about whether he could take an ink drawing of a rose he had done for his late grandmother, she said. The drawing is framed on the wall of her home.
The argument soon escalated, Jackson said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Navy boots 34 in cheating scandal
- Cleanup follows heavy storms in Phoenix area
- ISIS beheads American photojournalist who was kidnapped 2 years ago in Syria
- Florida looks good: Farmer’s Almanac predicts ‘super-cold’ winter, above-average snow for Northeast
- Last 4 hostages freed in suburban Chicago
- Mountaineer workers fear smoking ban will harm ‘livelihood’
- Irwin native among military personnel kept waiting for return of personal vehicle
- Police, protesters collide again in Ferguson
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- NRA’s ad campaign targets Bloomberg’s push to unify advocates of gun control
- Poll: Common Core educational standards loses support