Dallas County prosecutors will not charge police in teenager’s tasing death
Police officers in Mesquite committed a crime when they tased a teenager in 2013 who would later die. But because it took the office of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson so long to come to that conclusion, the officers cannot face criminal charges.
Graham Dyer, 18, was shocked with a Taser on his testicles while he was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. Dyer was on a bad LSD trip at the time he was tased and was throwing his body around the back of the police car.
The medical examiner concluded that he’d died from injuring himself.
But video from that night showed that Dyer had been repeatedly tased. One officer had threatened to kill him and police had not properly restrained him in the back of the car.
It took years for Dyer’s parents to get the full details of what happened to him with the Mesquite police department refusing to turn over records and video of that night. It wasn’t until they asked the FBI for help and then asked for the records that the federal agency had collected that the Dyer’s finally found out what happened.
According to the Austin American-Statesman “There was the image of Graham in the backseat of the police cruiser, his hands and feet bound — yet also unseatbelted or otherwise restricted — in obvious distress, hurling himself about the car. And then the ghostly image of a police officer’s hand with a Taser stun gun appearing in the camera frame, shocking Graham on the leg.
“And then, pushing him on his back and shocking him again — this time directly, and apparently deliberately, in his testicles. And Graham screaming silently as the electric shock to his genitals appeared to be repeated.”
Michael Snipes, the first assistant district attorney, said he wished he could file criminally negligent homicide charges against the officers but the three year statute of limitations has expired. Snipes could charge the police officers with manslaughter, which does not have a statute of limitations, but Snipes said the evidence didn’t justify that charge because the police behavior did not meet the required legal standard.
But it’s worth noting that Johnson and her predecessor, Susan Hawk, showed no interest in this case until Dyer’s parents found out what happened and the media reported on it. None of the officers who were involved in Dyer’s death have been disciplined.
A civil suit filed by Dyer’s parents is still pending.