Grand jury decides not to indict officers in Dallas shooting

Cops shoot, kill mentally ill man
Cops shoot, kill mentally ill man

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Story highlights

  • Police in Dallas shot and killed Jason Harrison last year
  • A grand jury has decided not to indict the officers
  • The officers are still facing a civil lawsuit filed by Harrison's family

(CNN)A grand jury in Dallas County, Texas, has decided not to indict two officers in the fatal shooting of Jason Harrison, a schizophrenic man whose mother had called police for help getting him to the hospital.

"This particular case was reported out as a 'no bill,' from the grand jury," said Cristal Retana, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
The grand jury's decision not to indict means Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins won't face criminal prosecution in the case. But the officers are still facing a wrongful death lawsuit from Harrison's family.
    The incident occurred in June, and Harrison's family filed a lawsuit in November. The release of video from one of the officer's body cameras put the shooting back in the headlines last month.
    In it, Harrison's mother answers the door for police and nonchalantly walks outside.
    "Oh, he's just off the chain," she says. "You can hear him, talking about chopping up people."
    It was a fairly routine occurrence for her to call the police for assistance with her son.
    An officer asks who she's talking about, and she replies, "My son, bipolar, schizo," as Jason Harrison appears in the doorway behind her. He is twiddling a screwdriver between his fingers.
    One of the two officers called to the scene tells Harrison to drop the tool, a command the officers repeat at least four times as Harrison's mom screams, "Jay! Jay! Jay!"
    Within five seconds of that first command, the 39-year-old schizophrenic man is shot five times -- including twice in the back as he crashes headlong into the home's garage door, just a few feet from his mother.
    Video from one officer's body camera fades to black as Harrison's mother wails, "Oh, they killed my son! Oh, they killed my son!" The officers continue to tell Harrison to drop the weapon.
    The Harrison family's lawsuit against Rogers and Hutchins says they should have used nonlethal means of defusing the situation instead of choosing to engage "in unlawful vicious attacks" when they and the department were aware of Harrison's condition. The suit also claims the officers violated Harrison's civil rights.
    The officers, however, said in affidavits that they were forced to shoot an armed man who they deemed dangerous after he failed to comply with repeated orders to drop a screwdriver.