Grand Prairie police defend Taser use on man

Grand Prairie police are standing by their decision to use a Taser on a man during an arrest.

But the lawyer for Rashaun Barnes said he was racially profiled and the arrest left him injured and bloodied. He will now pursue legal action against the department.

The incident happened July 31 at a strip retail center at Carrier Parkway and Warrior Trail in Grand Prairie. Police claim the area is known for drug activity.

Barnes' attorney, Lee Merritt, said Barnes did give the officer a false name and he did run while she was checking that name. Barnes said he suffered a broken nose and received serious injuries to his arm and face when the officer used her Taser on him as he was running away.

"The officer literally said I observed a black male speaking with a Hispanic woman and another black male, that conversation took place near a barber shop. I saw him leave that conversation and enter a corner store. When he came back out to speak with the crowd I felt it was suspicious so I initiated an investigative stop. We do not believe those articulated facts are sufficient to justify an interrogation,” Merrit said.

The attorney believes it was a matter of illegal racial profiling that prompted the stop and the amount of force used was excessive. There is dash cam and body cam video that Merritt and his client were allowed to view, but has not released to the media.

Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye disagrees with the attorney and held his own news conference to respond to the incident and statements made. Dye said he supports the officers' actions in this case. 

“Mr. Barnes only has himself to blame,” Dye said. “Don't lie to the police officer, don't run from the police officer and we won't have to use our conductive energy weapon to stop you. Unfortunately when we deployed the Taser, he fell on the pavement and received injuries.”

The Grand Prairie chapter of the NAACP said it supports the officer as well and its leaders also viewed the video of the incident.

"It’s clear on the video he ran away. It’s a complicated matter when police officers stop and ask for ID, they have to have cause. The officer used good judgement and she didn't shoot him,” said NAACP Grand Prairie chapter president Angela Lucky. “I want to know more about the initial stop, but it appears the police officer made a good judgement."

Charges filed against Barnes include failure to identify himself and evading arrest or detention. His attorney says those charges were only filed when the case began to attract attention, something the department denies.

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