Dallas PD fire officer who shot mentally ill man - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Dallas PD fire officer who shot mentally ill man; could face aggravated assault charge


The Dallas police officer who shot a mentally ill man in a disputed incident caught on tape was fired Thursday.

Police Chief David Brown also announced Officer Cardan Spencer would be charged with first degree aggravated assault. But a judge reportedly refused to sign the arrest warrant and now the case will be referred to a grand jury.

Spencer was fired for violating DPD's deadly force policy and its procedures on mentally ill people. Spencer had a hearing on Thursday morning.

"We are not going to sweep officer misconduct under the rug," Brown said at a press conference. "An officer's actions must reasonable and necessary."

A police report said Bobby Bennett, 52, threatened Spencer and another officer with a knife last week and then Spencer fired his gun at him.

But video captured by a neighbor's camera shows Bennett didn't appear to move toward the officers at all until he crumpled to the ground from a gunshot.

Bennett's mother, Joyce Jackson, said her son suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is still hospitalized recovering from the shooting. "I hope this situation will help the police with training in dealing with the mentally ill," she said.

She's hoping for a harsher punishment for Officer Cardan Spencer. "Officers are not above the law, okay," said Jackson.

Chief Brown said Bennett told detectives he was suicidal and wanted officers to kill him. He had a similar run in with cops in Euless in 1998.

Police will continue to investigate the second officer involved in the case. Although Officer Christopher Watson did not fire his weapon, he was the one who filed the police report.

The chief said Watson has admitted to remembering things out of order or that didn't happen, possibly because of the stress of the situation.

He will remain on restricted duty until the investigation is complete.

Officer Spencer was very emotional and expressed regret about what happened, the chief said.

"Cops are not superhuman. They have fear. But that fear has to be real," Brown said.

"He was very upset like anyone would expect, very disappointed and feels very betrayed by the department," said President of the Dallas Police Association Ron Pinkston.

The FBI is also investigating the case to determine if Bennett's civil rights were violated.

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