Family of UNT student fatally shot by Denton police praise video release, condemn officers’ actions

The family of the armed UNT student fatally shot by Denton police commended the department for releasing body camera video, but argued on Friday against the officers' actions.

Four Denton officers encountered Darius Tarver acting erratically in January after vandalizing an apartment complex. Tarver was carrying a meat cleaver and a frying pan.

Body camera video released Thursday shows Tarver ignoring officers’ repeated commands to drop the cleaver and pan.

An officer tased him once and as Tarver lunged at them and cut an officer with the cleaver, another officer shot Tarver once. When Tarver got back up and went after an officer, he was tased a second time and then shot a second and third time.

Tarver's parents say their son was obviously suffering from a mental health crisis and despite an officer being sliced with the meat cleaver, should not have used lethal force.

They claim officers are the ones that aggravated the situation.

“De-escalation means to calm the situation, they aggravated the situation. And he wasn't being violent when he was attacked, when he was tased. They assumed he was going to move - who has that type of mentality, 'I know exactly what you're going to do...,' and took that into their own hands. So, they initially you know - aggravated his actions,” said Kevin Tarver, Darius’ father.

Kevin blamed his son's behavior on a head injury suffered in a car accident.

All officers involved in this case are back on duty. The case still has not been presented to a grand jury.

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