Three Dallas officers charged after death of man in custody

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Three Dallas police officers are facing charges after the death of a man in their custody in 2016.

The three arrested Tony Timpa in August 2016. The officers say they restrained him because he was fighting. Sgt. Kevin Mansell, Officer Danny Vasquez and Officer Dustin Dillard are charged with misdemeanor deadly conduct.

Tony called 911 that night saying he was off his schizophrenia medications and needed help. One officer had Tony on the ground for 14 minutes with a knee in his back.

The medical examiner ruled Tony’ death a homicide — cardiac arrest aggravated by the effects of cocaine and being restrained.

The Dallas Police Association strongly defends the officers’ actions and criticizes the grand jury that returned the indictments. It says the officers did exactly as they are trained, but the family of Tony Timpa feels the officers’ actions took Tony's life.

Through her tears, Vicki Timpa accused Dallas police of taking her son’s life.

“It was a killing field,” she said. “They murdered my baby.”

DPA President Mike Mata is defending the three officers’ actions.

“Unfortunately, he died. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for the family,” Mata said. “But these officers didn’t kill him; the use of cocaine killed him.”

Attorney Geoff Henley is suing Dallas police for alleged civil rights violations against Tony.

“The grand jury looked at this,” the attorney said. “They clearly had to have and studied this and said, ‘You know what? This is not the way officers should conduct themselves.’”

Tony was in the New Fine Arts Adult Video Store on August 10, 2016. He was off his mental health medication, was on cocaine and was paranoid. He called 911 for help and ran out into the street. dressed only in shorts.

“At that time, some off-duty security officers see him,” Mata said. “They stop. They restrain him. They handcuff him, and then officers arrive at the scene.”

While paramedics were on their way to Mockingbird Lane, officers restrained him. Tony was face down with handcuffs behind him for 14 minutes. He was physically restrained with an officer’s knee in his back.

“They didn’t stack three, four, five officers on him. There was one officer,” Mata said. “That’s what they are trained to do to: prevent him from getting up again, which he was trying to do.”

Henley has seen the officer’s body cam video. He says Tony was face down in the grass.

“He’s clearly not breathing well,” the attorney said. “He’s yelling, ‘You’re gonna kill me!’ It’s appalling.”

Mata says the indictment is unfair.

“We didn’t kick him. We didn’t punch him. We didn’t tase him. We didn’t hit him with a baton. We didn’t hit him with a car. Hell, we didn’t even wrestle him to the ground,” Mata said. “We handcuffed him and held him to the ground so he didn’t run back into the roadway.”

“They weren't doing anything for his safety,” Vicki said. “So they claim they better not say that again. This is not true. Release the videos. Let everyone see.”

Vicki says there are five videos that she would like to be released to the media that she's seen so people can judge for themselves.

Mata says officers are concerned that if they put hands on someone and something bad happens, there will be a rush to judgment about their actions.