Officers Who Tasered Teens Testicles Till He Died Can’t Be Charged

graham

2017/06/24

The office of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said Thursday it had concluded some Mesquite police officers, who in August 2013 shocked 18-year-old Graham Dyer with a Taser on his testicles while he was handcuffed and allowed him to fatally injure himself in the back of their cruiser, had committed a crime.

But due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the officers involved couldn’t be charged.

“If I could go back in time and have this case, it would be indicted,” said Michael Snipes, the first assistant district attorney. “We would have pursued criminally negligent homicide charges.”

According to state law, however, such charges cannot be brought more than three years after the incident, which came to the district attorney’s attention as the result of an American-Statesman investigation two months ago. And while there is no such limitation on the higher charge of manslaughter, Snipes said the officers’ behavior that contributed to Graham’s death didn’t reach the level of a knowing disregard for his life.

Graham, a skinny skateboarding enthusiast, died after Mesquite police took him into custody on a summer night while he was having a bad LSD trip. The medical examiner called his death an accident, concluding he’d died of self-inflicted injuries sustained by hurling himself around the backseat of the police car on the way to the jail.

Yet police videos later obtained by his parents — with great difficulty and despite the city’s refusal to turn them over — appeared to show that Mesquite police had failed to properly restrain Graham in the back of the car. They also revealed the officers had pulled over and shocked the teenager with a Taser, including several times in his groin. One officer threatened to kill Graham.

The videos also seemed to contradict official police reports of the incident, which stated that Graham had needed to be placed in a special restraint chair at the jail because he was so out of control. Yet the videos of him being unloaded from the police car before being taken to a cell show Graham lying limp on the sally-port floor. It was more than two hours later, when officers found him unresponsive, that medics were summoned to treat him.

The case was never presented to a grand jury, and a city spokesman has said none of the police officers involved was disciplined.

Graham’s parents, Kathy and Robert Dyer, said they met with prosecutors for three hours Thursday. Snipes said his office’s investigation included reviewing videos of Graham’s arrest, police reports and affidavits, and it resulted in a 12-page internal report that was presented to the district attorney.

Kathy said she was disappointed the Mesquite officers wouldn’t be held to account for her youngest son’s death. “We’re pretty emotional, but it’s what we expected,” she said. “We feel like (prosecutors) did a pretty thorough investigation.”

Wayne Larson, a spokesman for the city of Mesquite, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call or email.

The Statesman described in April the Dyer family’s long and frustrating battle to obtain the damning police records. Mesquite was able to withhold them because of a Texas law that says law enforcement agencies don’t have to turn over their records if a defendant isn’t convicted of a crime. Graham was charged with assault for allegedly biting an officer in the finger while being arrested, but, he was never convicted because he died before his case could be heard.

For the full story visit : http://www.mystatesman.com/news/crime–law/officers-who-shocked-teenager-committed-crime-but-can-charged/yt6xNX3UqsHgKkBmTeqCBO/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4753 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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