Questions that arose about the thoroughness of the Dallas Police Department’s investigation of the officer who killed Botham Jean are now emerging about police investigators in Arlington, Texas, where the Black community wants answers in the killing of O’Shae Terry.
Terrance Harmon, a key witness in Terry’s shooting, spoke publicly on Tuesday for the first time about exactly what happened on Sept. 1 when officers fatally shot 24-year-old Terry during a traffic stop, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
After the shooting, the cops asked Harmon, who was a passenger in Terry’s SUV, where he was going, but not about the shooting itself, said his lawyer Lee Merritt, who’s also representing Jean’s family. Since that 10-minute interview, investigators have not spoken with Harmon again.
Dallas’ Black community has similar doubts about the thoroughness of the police investigation of ex-officer Amber Guyger, who killed Jean on Sept. 6 in his own apartment. Activists said investigators ignored several witnesses who could shed light on Guyger’s claim that Jean’s door was ajar when she mistook his apartment for her place.
Speaking Tuesday at the local NAACP event, Harmon walked the audience through the details of what they had already viewed from police body camera footage released by authorities.
The video shows an officer talking with Terry and a passenger after a traffic stop for a suspected registration violation. After a backup officer appears on the scene, the first officer tells Terry that she smells marijuana in the vehicle and must do a search. The first officer returns to her patrol car.
While the first officer is in the patrol car, the windows of Terry’s SUV begin to roll up, and the backup officer orders Terry to stop. He fired several shots at the vehicle, killing Terry.
The first shot was fired before Terry stepped on the gas, Harmon, who was sitting in the backseat of Terry’s vehicle, told the audience of about 50 people.
“You can see he tried to crank the car up twice,” Harmon said, referring to the video. “You can see how long it took O’Shae just to take off. His body was out. He had no control of the car. As the car is rolling, O’Shae is gone.”
During the investigation at the scene, the cops took everything Harmon had in his pockets, including his phone.
“I had no transportation, no keys and they dropped me off at the side of the QT and told me to find myself to Fort Worth,” the witness recalled.
Arlington Deputy Police Chief Carol Riddle was in the audience but had no answers about the investigation or why detectives stranded Harmon at the convenience store.