Temple Police Officer Kills Man
Temple Texas police officer, Carmen DeCruz, was arrested on Monday for the shooting death of Michael Dean. The shooting occurred on December 2 and has been under investigation by the Texas Rangers. DeCruz has been on administrative leave since the shooting. Upon arrest, DeCruz’s was given a $500,000 bond. The news article does not say if he posted bond.
It Started as a Traffic Stop
Officer DeCruz observed Mr. Dean speeding and tried to pull him over but Dean didn’t stop causing DeCruz to give chase. DeCruz pulled in front of Dean and blocked the vehicle when Dean stopped at an intersection. DeCruz drew his weapon and approached the car. The officer’s body cam caught the scene and shows DeCruz ordering Dean to turn off the car and give him the keys. According to the affidavit, “Officer DeCruz had the handgun pointed at Dean with his finger on the trigger. Officer DeCruz is seen reaching into Dean’s vehicle in an attempt to gain control of the keys to the vehicle with his left hand while holding his duty issued firearm, a handgun, in his right hand.”
The affidavit goes on to say, “Officer DeCruz is seen reaching into Dean’s vehicle in an attempt to gain control of the keys to the vehicle with his left hand while holding his duty issued firearm, a handgun, in his right hand.” When describing Officer DeCruz attempting to remove the keys from the ignition the affidavit says, “his right hand also pulls backwards causing the handgun to fire striking Michael Dean in the head.” Mr. Dean was shot in the temple and was dead at the scene.
Was This a Tragic Accident?
From what has been described in the affidavit, it sounds like this was a tragic accident. It is not out of bounds to think that while pulling with one hand you could make a simultaneous motion with the other. However, as an officer, DeCruz does not seem to have been following procedure in how he handled the situation. Does Temple Police policy really say to hold a gun to a person’s head while reaching in for the keys? The positioning of the people involved was dangerous for both the officer and the arrested person and can’t have been how he was taught to handle a situation like that.
Another Black Man Killed by a Police Officer
The problem is, the black community has seen so many black people killed by police that it will be hard for them to see anything other than police abuse. They are well aware of the police violence that has been targeted against them. That will make this situation look like just another example of police brutality. DeCruz is listed as a Native American but he will be seen as a white man. The family is angry and is already saying that the shooting was intentional. They are hurt and are mourning. They’ve seen other injustices and can only feel that the same is happening here.
We don’t know yet what the final determination will be. The Texas Rangers are continuing to investigate. But no matter what the final determination is, there are bound to be hard feelings about it. The Temple Police Department is not releasing the video or any information while the investigation is ongoing. You can read the KWTX.com article, for more details, here.