Watch: Dallas Police Kill a Mental Patient Holding a Screwdriver
The family of Jason Harrison, a mentally ill African-American man shot by Dallas police as he held a small screwdriver, has released a short video showing the moments that led to his death.
The 38-year-old Harrison was bipolar, schizophrenic, and off his medication. His mother had called the police because she wanted assistance in bringing him to the local hospital. The video shows her calmly walking out of the front door, before her son, seconds before the shooting. When she called to request assistance, she made the particulars of Harrison's situation known to the department.
The shooting took place last June, but the release of the video comes less than two weeks after police in Georgia killed Anthony Hill, an unarmed African-American 27-year-old who was not only unarmed, but naked when he was shot to death.
The family has launched a lawsuit against the department, which is how they were able to obtain a copy of the body-camera video. In a story in the Dallas Morning News, Jason Harrison's brother, Sean Harrison, explains how he hopes the video will serve as a warning in future, similar situations. “This is a perfect video for the Dallas Police Department to use in training as an example of what not to do,” he said. “You don’t yell at them — that only agitates them.”
Last year, Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown compiled a list of mentally ill individuals killed by cops in 2014. She ended up with 14 names and the list was composed before the summer had even ended. It's worth noting that the list was, in no way, complete. As she wrote in her introduction, "[This is] simply the results of a couple hours of Google searching." She also left out any case where the victim was carrying a gun.
Dallas police say that the department has already completed an investigation into the matter, but have not made any ruling, instead forwarding the necessary information to the district attorney's office. The two officers from the video, John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins, are back on full duty.