Two Dallas officers, responding to a call from a mother about her adult son making “violent threats,” shot and killed the man within moments of arriving on scene on June 14. The deceased, 38-year-old Jason Harrison, had a screwdriver in his hand as he approached officers, even as they yelled at him to yield.
Harrison’s family obtained the video from the department as evidence in a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed in October. With their attorney, Geoff Henley, they released the video, saying they believe it would illicit reform for policies and training on how police interact with the mentally ill. They said officers should have first tried less-lethal force on Harrison.
Harrison’s mother, in her call to 911, said that her son was in crisis mode–bipolar schizophrenic and off his medications. She is heard in the video telling officers: “He’s just off the chain … Bipolar schizo.”
The family’s lawsuit claims Harrison did not pose a threat, in part because the screwdriver he held was a small one used for computers. He had never been violent before, Sean Harrison said.
“This is a perfect video for the Dallas Police Department to use in training as an example of what not to do,” said older brother Sean Harrison. “You don’t yell at them–that only agitates them.”
But the officers who shot Harrison feared for their lives, said their attorney, Chris Livingston. He said killing someone with a screwdriver would “only take one blow.”
“You can’t de-escalate someone coming at you with a weapon,” Livingston added.
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