A Dallas man called 911 in August 2016, and instead of receiving help, he wound up dead.
Newly obtained records and video footage (see above) show police officers killed Tony Timpa and engaged in an extensive effort to cover it up, according to an investigative report from The Dallas Morning News. Write reporters Cary Aspinwall and Dave Boucher:
Timpa called 911 on Aug. 10, 2016, from the parking lot of a Dallas porn store, saying he was afraid and needed help. He told a dispatcher he suffered from schizophrenia and depression and was off his prescription medication. The News first reported Timpa’s death in a 2017 investigation that showed Dallas police refused to say how a man who had called 911 for help ended up dead.
The newly obtained video and records, part of a lawsuit filed by Timpa’s family in federal court alleging excessive force, contradict key claims Dallas police have made in defending the officers’ actions.
Police incident reports recounting the officers’ version of events claim Timpa’s behavior that night was aggressive and combative. The video shows Timpa writhing at times and clearly struggling to breathe, asking the officers to stop pinning him down.
On a custodial death report submitted to the state in 2016, the department answered "no" to questions about whether Timpa resisted arrest, threatened or fought officers.
Police had previously claimed to use only enough force necessary to block Timpa from rolling into a busy section of Mockingbird Lane. In the first minute, Timpa rolls around near the curb. But the video shows a police car clearly blocks traffic about a minute later near the bus bench where the officers had pinned him. Several officers continue pressing his restrained body into the ground.
This all has horrible resonance here at Legal Schnauzer, given that deputies in Greene County, Missouri, conducted an unlawful eviction against my wife, Carol, and me -- apparently at the behest of landlord Trent Cowherd, his lawyer Craig Lowther, and my lawyer brother David Shuler. A team of 6-8 officers, dressed mostly in SWAT gear, broke into our home (even though there was no final order of eviction), with deputy Scott Harrison pointing an assault rifle at my head, and officer Jeremy Lynn slamming Carol's head against a wall. An unknown officer we call "Mr. Blue Shirt" slammed Carol butt-first to the ground and yanked so viciously on both arms, in an up and backward motion, that it broke her arm just above the elbow.
The comminuted fracture required about eight hours of trauma surgery, with the procedure involving a number of complications that put Carol's life at risk. Sheriff Jim Arnott was on the scene and claimed (after Carol's arm had been broken) that she assaulted a law enforcement officer. Judge Jerry Harmison, in a joke of a bench trial, allowed four officers to lie, disassemble, and even commit clear perjury -- with Harmison finding Carol guilty and punishing her with what amounted to a $10 fine. Cops went so far as to claim Carol broke her own arm by flailing about in the back of a patrol car, while handcuffed and seat-belted.
How bad was the brutality used against Tony Timpa in Dallas? Aspinwall and Boucher set the scene, based on body-cam footage. (See video at the top of this post.):
Tony Timpa wailed and pleaded for help more than 30 times as Dallas police officers pinned his shoulders, knees and neck to the ground.
“You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!”
After Timpa fell unconscious, the officers who had him in handcuffs assumed he was asleep and didn’t confirm that he was breathing or feel for a pulse.
As precious minutes passed, the officers laughed and joked about waking Timpa up for school and making him waffles for breakfast.
Body camera footage obtained Tuesday by The Dallas Morning News shows first responders waited at least four minutes after Timpa became unresponsive to begin CPR. His nose was buried in the grass while officers claimed to hear him snoring -- apparently unaware that the unarmed man was drawing his last breaths.
If that passage makes you sick to your stomach, you are not alone. We know firsthand about police brutality, excessive force, and cops' twisted efforts to cover them up. And the video from Dallas reveals a truth that only gets uglier. Here's more from the Dallas Morning News:
He had already been handcuffed by a private security guard before police arrived. He never threatens to hurt or kill the police.
The footage also shows the officers mocking Timpa as he struggled to live. Shortly after one officer ridicules Timpa’s repeated cries for help, an officer notes that he appears to be “out cold.”
They joke that he’s merely asleep and try to wake him: “It’s time for school. Wake up!”
One officer mimics a teen saying: “I don’t want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!”
They joke about buying him new shoes for the first day of school and making him a special breakfast, laughing loudly.
After it's too late, the officers actually show some signs of concern about what happened:
Timpa died within 20 minutes of police arriving, and at least 15 minutes before an ambulance eventually transported his body to Parkland hospital.
As the officers and paramedics struggle to load Timpa’s lifeless body onto the gurney, they begin to panic, seeing his glassy, open eyes and blades of grass stuck to his mouth.
One of the officers asks: “He didn’t just die down there, did he?”
An autopsy ruled Timpa’s cause of death was a homicide, sudden cardiac death due to "the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint."
The city of Dallas and Dallas County officials had fought since September 2016 to prevent public release of the records, arguing it could interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. Officials then said the records could not be released because a criminal case against three of the police officers never made it to trial.
In my mind, there is no difference between the Dallas thugs and the bastards who beat up Carol in Missouri. The main difference in the two cases is that Timpa died and Carol lived -- barely. At least Timpa didn't have to go through the indignity of being falsely accused of a crime and being convicted based on cops lying over and over under oath.