Grand jury clears Arlington officer in fatal traffic stop shooting

A Tarrant County grand jury declined to charge an Arlington officer who shot and killed a driver during a February traffic stop.

Newly-released dash cam footage reveals what happened that night.

Arlington Police Officer Craig Roper killed 23-year-old Tavis Crane on February 1. Police maintain the shooting was justified.

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The traffic stop started with the officer seeing what she thought was a pipe being thrown out of car window. It turned out to be a child's candy cane wrapper.

That evening, Arlington Police Officer Elise Bowden tried to get Crane to get out of the car so he could be arrested on warrants for a prior felony evading charge and several tickets. There were two other adults with him in in the car along his baby daughter.

As two backup officers arrived, Crane continued to refuse to get out, saying his daughter needed to go home. 

"Step out of the car, honey,” Brown tells Crane. “Tavis, if you go and do something stupid, then we are going to be breaking windows. It's going to get crazy. It ain’t worth it. Look, I'm talking to you like a mother ok? You're a father. Open the door baby."

Roughly 15 minutes after the initial stop, the situation escalated. Back up Officer Craig Roper entered the vehicle from the rear driver's side door. Seconds later, at least one shot can be heard.

The dash cam video shows Crane revving up his car and then backing up and running over Officer Brown twice. Arlington police say Crane was shot several times and died.

A Tarrant County grand jury saw the video on Wednesday and decided not to charge Officer Roper.

In a statement, District Attorney Sharen Wilson said, “The Tarrant County Grand Jury has voted to take no action against Arlington Police Officer Craig Roper which resulted in the death of Tavis Crane. We respect the Grand Jurors' decision."

 The president of the Arlington Police Association released a statement saying, “A Tarrant County Grand Jury determined that Officer Craig Roper was justified in using deadly force. The unfortunate outcome was set in motion only by the actions of Tavis Crane.”

Crane family attorney Darryl Washington, who saw the video for the first time on Thursday, is troubled.  He says his expert reviewed the video and determined as many as three shots were fired before Officer Bowden was run over.

"There was just no need for someone to end up dead.  There was no need for this officer to be injured,” Washington said. “There was no officer that was in fear of their lives.  So this officer had no reason to do this. What he did actually was escalated this situation."

Arlington police dispute Washington's claims saying no shots were fired before Officer Bowden was run over. They say all of the shots were fired as Crane drove off and Roper heard over the radio that Bowden was run over.

The Crane family attorney says the family plans to file a wrongful death law suit.

Officer Elise Bowden, a mother of 8 children and a grandmother, is expected to fully recover.

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