Former partner testifies in Dallas PD squad car death trial

The trial began Wednesday for a Dallas police officer accused of hitting and killing a man on a bicycle and then tampering with the crime scene.

Prosecutors worked to show that Officer Bryan Burgess made bad decisions from start to finish and that he is to blame for the death of a man who was riding a bicycle. He faces punishment from probation to 20 years in prison if convicted.

For the first time, Burgess’ former DPD partner Michael Puckett spoke publicly about that night.

"It's difficult to be here today,” Puckett said.

Puckett took the jury back to April 21, 2013 - the night he and Burgess pursued Fred Bradford, 51, after they saw him reach into a parked car.

"Thought drug deal or a burglary,” Puckett said.

Then he explained why they went after Bradford instead of the person in the car, based on DPD's chase policy.

 "Can't chase vehicles unless it's violent,” Puckett said.

While Burgess chased Bradford in his squad car, Puckett was chasing him on foot. Burgess followed Bradford off MLK Boulevard into a grassy area. His attorney said he was going 11 mph when he hit Bradford. Puckett got to the scene after the crash.

When asked what he saw, Puckett said, "Officer Burgess on top of Mr. Burgess trying to cuff him still."

Puckett said Bradford was cursing and that Burgess was telling Bradford to stop resisting.

Prosecutors argued in opening statements that Burgess waited eight minutes to call for an ambulance and altered the crime scene before they arrived.

“Honestly, I don't exactly what happened next, I know at some point the squad car and bicycle were moved,” Puckett said, adding that it was Burgess who moved the bike and he doesn’t know why that happened.

Puckett also spoke when the jury was out of the room. He said a previous supervisor thought he and Burgess should not work together because Burgess did not like to follow orders. Puckett said that Burgess was on testosterone, which he says a sergeant thought made him more aggressive.

None of that information was admissible in the trial. Testimony in the case continues on Thursday.