Experts Say Dallas Officer Should be Charged With Shooting Mentally Ill Man


A Dallas police officer captured on a neighbor's surveillance video shooting a mentally ill man as he stood still is likely to be indicted for his actions during the deadly force confrontation, several legal experts tell the Dallas Morning News. If Officer Cardan Spencer were indicted in the shooting of Bobby Gerald Bennett, it would send shock waves through the Dallas police force, which hasn't seen one of its own charged in an officer-involved shooting in decades.

“It just seems like, just from looking at it, that this person was shot by the officer without any legal justification,” said Robert Udashen, a defense attorney who teaches criminal procedure at Southern Methodist University's law school. “If a civilian had done that, a civilian would already be charged with a crime.” Getting a conviction would be a lot harder than an indictment, because juries are loath to second-guess the actions of police officers in deadly force situations. “A jury may not want to convict him because of who he is,” said Juan Sanchez, a former Dallas County prosecutor. “Officers always get a fair trial, I'll tell you that. People don't want to believe that they would do something like that. They always have the presumption of innocence going for them.” Bennett, 52, is recovering at a hospital after being shot in the abdomen outside his mother's home.

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