On Tuesday, a Bell County, Texas , jury found ex-Temple Police Department officer Carmen DeCruz not guilty in the death of Michael Dean.
DeCruz had been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Dean, a 28-year-old unarmed Black man, as a traffic stop occurred on Dec. 2, 2019.
Prosecutors had sought a conviction for criminally negligent homicide. However, the jury decided that DeCruz was not guilty on all counts.
“This is why we don’t trust the system! An innocent man was murdered!” yelled one of Dean’s relatives after the verdict was announced.
Authorities say that Dean was fatally shot after a car chase when DeCruz tried to stop him for speeding. Arrest documents note that when Dean did pull over, DeCruz walked to his car with his weapon drawn. When DeCruz reached inside of the vehicle to get the car keys, he pulled the trigger, causing Dean’s death.
Several recordings were played at the trial but revealed that DeCruz later said that Dean may have tried to get his gun.
During recorded interviews, DeCruz said that he doesn’t know how his gun discharged. After watching his body cam footage, he changed what he said and said that it appeared that Dean had reached for the gun.
Lawyers say that DeCruz has no desire to continue a career in law enforcement. He is now getting her defense together as an expected civil lawsuit may be filed by Dean’s relatives.
“We have been fighting for years for Carmen’s freedom in this case. We knew this was going to come. We’re shocked it even took two hours to get to this point. We’ve been dealing with lies and nothing but fiction from the Bell County District Attorney’s Office for years,” said the DA.
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