Bodycams were first introduced to the U.S in 2013, but uptake was slow. The cams were implemented across America in 2014 following the shooting of the eighteen-year-old, Michael Brown. Back then, it seemed like policing had taken an important step towards transparency. With the introduction of the bodycam, whatever happened whilst on duty would be recorded. Everyone would be safer.
Unfortunately, it's never that simple. Take the case of Tony Timpa, for instance.
Timpa died after being pinned to the ground by officers in Dallas for nearly fourteen-minutes. Since his death, in August 2016, his family have never stopped asking for the footage from that night. Despite the officers wearing bodycams, The Dallas Police Department wouldn't release the bodycam recordings.
On Monday, July 29th, 2019, however, a federal judge ruled in favor of releasing the footage, following a motion filed by Dallas News and NBC5. The footage reveals the disturbing truth about what happened to Tony Timpa.
My concerns about police conspiracy are further fuelled by the news this week that Federal Task forces have banned bodycams. This blatant rejection of transparent policing has led to The Atlanta Police Department to pull out of working with feds in a bid to maintain transparency.
With racial discrimination and prejudice on the rise and ICE rounding innocent people up left, right, and center, it is vitally important that our officers wear bodycams.
Tony Timpa was killed after calling the authorities for help.The thirty-two-year-old had called the authorities in Dallas for help. He told them that he was off his medication, which he took for schizophrenia and anxiety, and that he needed someone to come and get him.
He told dispatchers that he was afraid.On the night of August 10, 2016, Timpa called 911 from a parking lot in Dallas. He called 911 to get help; instead, they did the opposite.
Tony Tempa died within twenty-minutes of officers arriving on the scene.His mom, Vicki, speaking to Dallas CBS said: "He was expecting someone to help him, that’s why he called . He wasn’t expecting several police to kill him."
Tony Timpa's death was recorded as a homicide.According to Timpa's autopsy, his death was the result of a sudden cardiac arrest. The cause of his heart failing to pump blood around his body was ruled to be down to "the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint."
In 2017, the officers involved were brought before a grand jury on charges of misdemeanor deadly conduct.The indictment from the grand jury stated that "officers engaged in reckless conduct that placed Timpa in imminent danger of serious bodily injury."
Tony's mom has tirelessly fought for the truth.Here, we can see a copy of the open records police form filled out by Vicki Tempa, two weeks after Tony's death. She would not receive the information that she wanted for three years.
The charges against the officers were dropped.Dallas County District Attorney, John Creuzot, dismissed the charges. Speaking to Dallas News, Creuzot explained that he had met with the medical examiners and they had all said that they did not believe that the officers had "acted recklessly."
The medical examiners refused to testify.
As long as local DAs — like @Dallas_DA John Creuzot — and Attorneys General continue condoning bullethead, roid-rag… https://t.co/hUPT1FAe43— 😐 (@😐)1564586943.0
The Dallas Police Department was hiding something.
@_SJPeace_ Disturbing and disgusting behavior by a bunch of frat boys with guns and badges. What exactly is the cri… https://t.co/tlG8qGFjpY— #BlackLivesMatterDemSocialistBabe (@#BlackLivesMatterDemSocialistBabe)1564739918.0
With the release of the footage, we finally have the truth...Now that the charges have been dropped against officers, it's a case of too little too late. The incriminating evidence demonstrates exactly why the Dallas Police Department didn't wish to release the footage while the investigation was being carried out.
The officers in question clearly acted in a way that was not only unprofessional, but was brutally cruel.
People wonder why those with Mental Illness don’t want to reach out or call for help, here is why. #JusticeForTony— Journey of Faith (@Journey of Faith)1564629554.0
Here's what actually happened...The three officers at the scene, Kevin Mansell, Danny Vasquez, and Dustin Dillard used aggressive force to handcuff and pin Tony Timpa to the ground, despite clearly causing distress in doing so.
The deadly "prone position."
Tony Timpa was not a threat & didn’t need to be restrained aggressively. But even AFTER he stops moving, the cop do… https://t.co/XmX2wdSGNA— A.J. (@A.J.)1564649810.0
The recordings prove that Tony posed no threat to the officers.When the officers arrived at the scene, Tony had already been handcuffed by a private security guard and not once did he threaten to cause injury to anybody.
"You're gonna kill me."Tony cried this out repeatedly as the officers pinned him down before he fell silent. The officers "assumed" that he had fallen asleep, failing to check his pulse or to make sure that he was breathing.
With Tony's face pressed to the ground, the officers mocked him.The horrific footage shows the officers laughing at Tony's expense, saying "It’s time for school. Wake up!" with another officer replying, “I don’t want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!" They then joke about making him a special breakfast of waffles. The whole thing is highly inappropriate and is clearly a highly negligent response to an unconscious citizen.
"He didn’t just die down there, did he?"
@DallasPD No justice, no peace. The officers involved in the death of #TonyTimpa should be fired and charged with murder.— Scott (@Scott)1564671640.0