Texas LEO who fatally shot man driving away from traffic stop indicted on homicide charge

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Post by NHGF [Feed] » Thu May 02, 2019 2:29 pm

Tom Steele The Dallas Morning News ARLINGTON, Texas — A Tarrant County grand jury has indicted the Arlington police officer who fatally shot a man as he drove away from a traffic stop in September. Officer Bau Tran, 36, of Grand Prairie was indicted Wednesday on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a state jail felony. Another officer, Julie Herlihy, stopped O'Shae Terry in the 2200 block of California Lane the afternoon of Sept. 1 because of expired tags. Herlihy then announced that she smelled marijuana and would need to search the SUV. Tran, a backup officer, stayed near the SUV's passenger side as Herlihy returned to her patrol vehicle to use her computer. Body-cam footage from the incident shows Tran initially chatting with Terry, the driver, who had rolled down the windows and turned off the vehicle at the officer's request. Tran tells Terry that as long as they cooperate, things will be "cool." "We just have to do what we have to do," Tran says. Terry then starts to roll up the windows. Tran puts his left hand on top of the window and reaches his right arm inside the vehicle, saying, "Hey, hey, hey, hey!" He steps onto the SUV's running board and yells, "Hey, stop!" "I ain't going nowhere," Terry says as he turns the key in the ignition. Tran, holding on to the window with his left hand, points a gun into the SUV and fires multiple shots as the vehicle starts moving. Someone screams. Tran falls from the SUV, which then rolls onto a sidewalk farther down the block. Terry, a 24-year-old Forest Hill resident, died at a hospital. He had been shot four times. His passenger, 24-year-old Terrence Harmon, was uninjured. Police later reported finding a Glock handgun with a 29-round extended magazine, 1.09 pounds of marijuana and 7 grams of ecstasy pills in the vehicle. Tran, who was initially placed on restricted duty while police performed an internal investigation, was placed on leave Wednesday, pending the outcome of that investigation, Arlington police spokesman Christopher Cook said. The investigation is expected to wrap up in the coming weeks, he added. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon outside the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, attorney Lee Merritt said the indictment was a step in the right direction after "a long eight months." Merritt, who is representing Terry's family, has previously said that although fleeing the traffic stop was a crime, Terry wasn't endangering anyone — and therefore Tran had no justification for shooting him. "It's not OK to shoot at someone to prevent them from leaving," he said in November. "That represents a crime — more specifically, murder." Terry's mother, Sherley Woods, said at the news conference that "I just thank God" that her family has the opportunity for some closure because of the officer's criminal case. "No family, no mother or father should have to go through anything like this concerning their child," she said. Randall Moore, Tran's attorney, has maintained that his client acted within the law and department policy. "He did what he thought he had to do to protect the public," Moore said last year. On Wednesday, Tran's attorney said his client was surprised he "wasn't supported by his department or the DA's office." "If we're going to keep judging our officers by the end result rather than reasonableness of their actions under the circumstances, we're going to have a real problem finding police officers," he told KDFW-TV (Channel 4). Tran, who has been with the department eight years, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on May 17. ——— ©2019 The Dallas Morning News

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