A Dallas grand jury last week cleared two officers in the death of a 39-year-old schizophrenic man whose mother had called for assistance escorting him to the hospital for treatment, CNN reports.
Dallas officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins will not face criminal prosecution in the death of Jason Harrison, who was shot in June, said Cristal Retana, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. But Harrison’s family in November filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers, the report says.
Video footage captured by one of the officer’s body cameras and released last month thrust the shooting into national headlines. The disturbing footage begins when Harrison’s despondent mother answers the door.
“Oh, he’s just off the chain,” she can be heard saying in the graphic video footage (above). “You can hear him, talking about chopping up people.”
An officer asks who she’s talking about, and she replies, “My son, bipolar, schizo,” as Jason Harrison appears in the doorway behind her. He is twiddling a screwdriver between his fingers.
One of the two officers called to the scene tells Harrison to drop the tool, a command the officers repeat at least four times as Harrison’s mom screams, “Jay! Jay! Jay!”
Within five seconds of that first command, the 39-year-old schizophrenic man is shot five times — including twice in the back as he crashes headlong into the home’s garage door, just a few feet from his mother.
“Oh, they killed my son! Oh, they killed my son!” the mother can be heard sobbing as the video fades to black and the officers continue to yell for Harrison to “drop it” as he lies face down on the ground in the driveway.
From Lavall Hall, who was shot earlier this month by police in Miami Gardens, Florida, to Tony Robinson, who was shot in March by police in Madison, Wisconsin, concerns are being raised about officers killing mentally ill Black men they have been called to assist. Death should not be the only option for someone whose family called police for help.
We hope police will receive better training to work with mentally ill men and women so they will be better equipped to handle such calls.
SOURCE: CNN | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN