Dallas Chief Fires Officer Over Shooting; Critics Say He Acted Too Quickly


An officer seen on a surveillance video shooting a mentally ill man as he stood still was fired by Dallas Police Chief David Brown, reports the Dallas Morning News. Brown announced Officer Cardan Spencer had been charged with aggravated assault in the Oct. 14 shooting of Bobby Gerald Bennett. The chief spoke prematurely because a udge declined to sign a warrant for Spencer's arrest. The judge directed detectives to refer the case to a grand jury — a lengthy process customary in police shootings.

“Officers are not above the law,” Brown said. “We as a police department are not going to look the other way. We are not going to sweep officer misconduct under the rug.” Spencer's attorney and the head of a police association faulted Brown, saying the chief acted hastily in firing Spencer and seeking criminal charges. Brown has been under criticism for his handling of a serial rapist case and for not acting quickly enough against two detectives who failed to properly investigate hundreds of domestic violence incidents. “Chief Brown responded to the whims of incomplete media reports and uninformed politicians by ramrodding a deficient investigation through internal affairs,” said Robert Rogers, Spencer's attorney. “Officer-involved shooting investigations involve a host of complex issues that normally take months to complete.”

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