DeCruz Trial: Defense team representing former Temple Police officer rest their case

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 7:54 PM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Day nine of the Carmen DeCruz trial focused on Temple Police Department training and pursuit policy.

The former Temple Police Officer is charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing Michael Dean, an unarmed Black man in 2019.

Notably, the defense rested their case. However, the prosecution resumed calling witnesses to the stand after the bad weather prevented them from calling some people to the stand last week.

Former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell explained that the defense resting their cases most likely means the former Temple police officer won’t be called to the stand to testify.

“The only thing I can think of is they didn’t want to put him through it,” Feazell said. “They must have been concerned that he would hurt his case rather than help it.”

Temple police officers including DeCruz are trained to tell suspects to put their hands on their head or out of the vehicle when stopped – something we didn’t see DeCruz do with Dean, according to previously shown body cam footage.

Feazell said that showing DeCruz violated policy could show the jury negligence.

“If the policy is there to prevent negligence, to prevent this kind of thing from happening and you violate then that could be a sign of negligence,” Feazell said.

The state also drew attention to the physical state of DeCruz at the time. They brought up that officers can have an increased heart rate during pursuits, which could impact their cognitive abilities. However, we still don’t know what DeCruz’s heart rate was at the time of the incident.

“When fear takes over, the adrenaline gets going, sometimes that person can actually see something that’s not there,” Feazell said. “They can even pass a polygraph test on what they thought happened.”

At one point the state showed the jury body cam footage of a couple police officers who ran to DeCruz in the moments right after he shot and killed Dean.

The victim’s family did not leave the courtroom during any of this, which is different considering they have left in the past before any footage from that night has been shown.

One of his relatives could be seen shaking her head as she heard DeCruz in the video shout that “his career is over” after shooting Dean.