The deadly 2012 shooting of a man by a Dallas police officer is now the focus of a federal civil rights trial.
The family of James Harper sued the officer and the City of Dallas for wrongful death for the incident, which resulted in a near riot in Dixon Circle in July 2012.
Harper was unarmed when Officer Brian Rowden fatally shot him while trying to arrest Harper after a foot chase. Harper fought with Rowden and Rowden says he thought Harper was reaching for a weapon when he fired.
The tension on the street came after rumors that harper had been shot in the back. But that wasn’t true and Rowden's account was ultimately backed up by a Grand Jury who cleared him of criminal charges.
“The case is still gonna be the evidence that gets puts forward. What gets in, what doesn’t get in, the effectiveness of the defense folks and of the plaintiffs lawyers,” said former U.S. Attorney Aaron Wiley, who is not part of the case.
“Even though it happened in ’12, this is ’19 and the jury pool for ‘19 is very different from the jury pool in 2012,” Wiley said.
It’s different after a series of notable officer-involved incidents: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.
“With the constant chattering about police violence and difficulties between the minority community and law enforcement, you have to talk about that. That’s going to be the elephant in the room,” Wiley said.
A jury has been seated and the trial is expected to last until the first week of September.