Police in Dallas are being investigated for shooting a mentally ill man who they allege approached officers with a knife raised. But a video of the incident shows that the man did not take a single step before being gunned down by the officers.
Officers were called on 52-year-old Bobby Gerald Bennett last week after the man suffered a psychotic episode from failing to take his antipsychotic medication for several months, his mother told reporters.
When officers arrived on the scene, Bennett was sitting in a black swivel office chair in the middle of a cul de sac with his arms crossed, according to a report.
Via The Dallas Morning News:
The officers asked Bennett to show his hands, but he allegedly told them “you all are going to need more officers out here.”
Bennett began walking toward officers with the knife raised, police said. One of the officers on the scene fired four times, striking Bennett once.
In a press release, the Dallas Police said that Bennett “made statements indicating that he was not going to cooperate with the officers” and that “the incident escalated which led an officer to fire his weapon upon the individual.”
But video captured by a neighbor’s surveillance system shows Bennett standing still during the entire incident. When officers opened fire on the mentally unstable man, his hands were down.
“When the officers told him freeze, he complied,” said neighbor Maurice Bunch, who witnessed the incident from his driveway across the street. “He did not move an inch, in suspended animation; he just stood there, you know? Bobby was conscious, he knew exactly what he was doing because I had been talking to him prior.”
After being treated for his gunshot wound, Bennett was arrested. He faces a charge of aggravated assault to a public servant.
Only after the surveillance footage surface did the police decide to investigate the incident to determine whether the department’s “deadly force policy was violated.”