Dash cam video shows moments leading up to Michael Dean’s death on second day of DeCruz trial
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - On the second day of the Carmen DeCruz trial, the court decided on a jury, the prosecution presented their opening argument, the attorneys introduced evidence and called in witnesses.
WATCH LIVE: Dean Family attorney speaks to reporters
DeCruz, a former Temple Police officer, is charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing Michael Dean, an unarmed Black man in 2019.
The prosecution showed the jurors a first look at the dash cam video from that night. In it you could see the former police officer begin pursuing Dean and pull up perpendicular to his vehicle.
DeCruz stepped out of frame once he approached Dean’s car but you could hear some sort of banging then a gunshot.
A former detective was called to the stand to analyze the video. He said at the time the Temple Police Department’s pursuit policy was “very limited.” He revealed DeCruz should only have blocked Dean’s vehicle in the way he did if he was suspected of a felony.
The detective said in those situations the former police officer should have called for backup before even stepping out of his vehicle.
Before then, the prosecution presented their opening argument to the jury. The key piece of the evidence in this case is DeCruz’s body cam video, which has not yet been released to the public despite media requests.
The prosecution team said in their opening argument that the footage will show the former police officer shouting profanities after he shot Dean and then trying to perform CPR on him. They also revealed the jury will see DeCruz escalating the situation in the moments before Dean’s death.
Former McLennan County district attorney Vic Feazell told KWTX News 10 what these new details could mean for the trial.
“I think it means he obviously did not mean to kill the guy, he did not mean to do it,” he said. “That’s why he’s not charged with murder. It’s whether the actions leading up to the situation was wreckless.”
The defense team waived their right to provide an opening argument to the jury. Feazell said this is rare, but not unheard of.
“Whether or not to do an opening statement is totally up to the lawyer,” he said. “It’s at the lawyer’s discretion. A lot of times when you don’t do an opening statement it’s because you don’t want to get boxed in with something you can’t prove later.”
The selected jury is made up of 1 Black man, 1 mixed-race woman and 12 other people who are white and/or other races. Twelve will serve as jurors who ultimately decide DeCruz’s fate while the other two serve as alternates.
Feazell said that race does play a factor in potential biases that these jurors might have.
“Whether you’re a Black person on the jury or an old white guy who’s really good with law enforcement on the jury, we would all hope that would be set aside,” Feazell said. “But we know that is not always the case.”
DeCruz was in the courtroom today with much longer hair than that mugshot we’ve seen.
Dean’s family made an appearance as the trial began, but they stepped out after the first witness took the stand. The family could be seen getting visibly emotional as their attorney recounted the night Dean was killed in her opening argument.
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