DALLAS (AP) — Police body camera video footage shows a man who called 911 to request help crying, pleading then going limp as arresting officers restrain him. Soon after, a paramedic says he’s dead.
Dallas police released the footage Tuesday showing the August 2016 death of 32-year-old Tony Timpa. A federal judge ordered the release of the video following requests from The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV.
The videos show the officers pinning Timpa to the ground and cracking jokes even as the screaming, handcuffed man suddenly becomes still and silent. Shaking his limp body the officers can be heard comparing Timpa to a child who doesn’t want to wake up for the first day of school.
Medical examiners later ruled Timpa’s death a homicide and said it was caused by cardiac arrest brought on by cocaine and the stress of physical restraint.
Timpa called 911 in Aug. 10, 2016, from the parking lot of a Dallas porn store. He said he was afraid and needed help, telling a dispatcher he suffered from schizophrenia and depression and was off his prescription medication, according to the Morning News. Police reports recounting the officers’ version of events described Timpa as aggressive and combative.
The videos show him initially writhing on the ground and struggling for breath under the weight of the officers. But he can’t be heard threatening the police officers and was already handcuffed by a private security guard by the time they arrived, the paper reports.
As the paramedics and officers wheel a stretcher with Timpa’s limp body toward an ambulance, one says “hope I didn’t kill him.” They continue to laugh as they walk up to the vehicle, where paramedics say he’s not breathing.
In 2017, a grand jury indicted Sgt. Kevin Mansell and Officers Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard for misdemeanor deadly conduct in Timpa’s death, finding they acted recklessly. But prosecutors dismissed the charges in March and the officers returned to active duty the next month.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said he met with the medical examiners who testified to the grand jury before dismissing the charges. The three medical examiners, including one hired by Timpa’s family, said they don’t believe the officers acted recklessly and would not “testify to the elements of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to the district attorney’s office.
Timpa’s family is suing the city of Dallas claiming the officers used excessive force.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com