Body camera video from ex-cop accused in Dallas woman’s shooting death shown during trial

On Wednesday, jurors watched body camera video from the former Dallas police officer on trial for a 2017 shooting that killed 21-year-old Genevive Dawes.

Dawes was behind the wheel when Christopher Hess, who was responding to a suspicious persons call, fired 12 times at her moving vehicle.

There were six officers on scene that day.

Jurors previously saw body camera from other responding officers, but they watched Hess' body camera video on Wednesday. It was video that was released in 2018, but seen for the first time in Hess’ trial.

Body camera video showed Hess, who was a Dallas Police Department officer at the time, on January 18, 2017.

Dawes was behind the wheel of an SUV.

In the video, Hess, who had his gun drawn, got in his cruiser to move it into the path of the reversing SUV.

There was a collision, which was shown from the view of Hess’ partner, Jason Kempel's, body cam. Kempel was standing off to the side with his gun drawn.

Video then shows Hess jump out of his cruiser.

“Show your hands,” Hess is heard saying in the body camera video.

The SUV then drives forward into a fence, and reverses again, clearing Hess' cruiser this time.

“Back up, back up,” Hess said.

Hess then fires nine shots, and the SUV keeps reversing.

There were then three more shots before the SUV stopped.

The same was seen from Kempel's body camera, which shows Hess, who was directly in front of Kempel.

Kempel fired one shot.

He was not charged in the incident.

Hess and Kempel have not yet testified.

Hess’ attorneys said his use of deadly force was justified, as a reasonable decision to make it home that night.

But prosecutors said Dawes was reversing slowly, not threatening anyone's life, and they said Hess violated police deadly force policy by firing on a moving vehicle, an action only justified to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. 

The medical examiner testified Dawes was hit five times.

“She backed up to miss the cruiser,” Hess is heard saying in the body camera footage.

But prosecution witness Joe Samples, who called 911 to report the suspicious vehicle and witnessed the shooting, may have been more helpful to the defense, as he described what he perceived as Dawes trying to leave urgently. He said she narrowly missed hitting one officer.

[ATTORNEY: “Do you recall telling me on a prior occasion that you do not believe, based upon what you saw, that she was trying to strike any of the officers. Do you recall telling me that?”] “No, I don't, sir,” Samples testified.

The state will continue to put on its case starting first thing Thursday morning, with more expert testimony expected.

Dawes’ family is also suing both officers and the city of Dallas, alleging excessive force. The lawsuit argues poor training, a lack of supervision and a lack of discipline were at the root of the shooting.

The city filed a motion asking that it be dismissed from the lawsuit. Officer Kimpel’s attorneys did the same but a judge rejected their requests.