DALLAS - Deadly conduct charges have been dropped for three Dallas police officers indicted after a man died in their custody.
Sgt. Kevin Mansell, Officer Danny Vasquez and Officer Dustin Dillard arrested 32-year-old Tony Timpa in August 10, 2016.
He allegedly called 911 that night because he was off his schizophrenia medication, was high on cocaine and paranoid. Police said he ran out of the New Fine Arts Adult Video Store and into the street, dressed only in shorts.
Timpa died while the responding officers were waiting for paramedics to arrive. An attorney for his family said body camera video from that night shows he was face down with handcuffs behind him for 14 minutes and was physically restrained with an officer’s knee on his back.
A medical examiner ruled Timpa’s death a homicide – cardiac arrest aggravated by the effects of cocaine and being restrained.
According to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, the case was presented to a grand jury in 2017 with testimony from three medical examiners, including one that was hired by Timpa’s family. The jurors concluded the officers “engaged in reckless conduct that placed Mr. Timpa in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”
However, DA John Creuzot said he decided to dismiss the misdemeanor charges following a lengthy investigation into Timpa’s official cause of death.
Creuzot said he met with the three medical examiners regarding their findings and all three said they do not believe the officers acted recklessly. None were willing to testify against the officers.
FOX 4 News interviewed Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata after the officers were indicted. He defended their actions and said they did what they were trained to do: prevent Timpa from getting up again, which he was trying to do.
“Unfortunately, he died. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for the family,” Mata said. “But these officers didn’t kill him; the use of cocaine killed him.”
During a previous interview, Vicki Timpa tearfully accused the officers of taking her son’s life. She is still struggling with the loss.
“I have nightmares. I can’t sleep. And they’re going to be released back into Dallas, those cops,” she said on Monday.
Creuzot said he has met with Timpa’s family members about his decision.
The family’s attorney said their civil case against the Dallas Police Department will still move forward.
Officers Mansell, Vasquez and Dillard have been on administrative leave. The police department said it will review the case to make sure proper protocol was followed.