Tony Timpa is a Texas man who died after being restrained by Dallas police officers in 2016.
Newly released body-camera video obtained by The Dallas Morning News shows Timpa pleading with the officers before he lost consciousness and died. “You’re gonna kill me!” Timpa shouted numerous times.
The video shows officers mocking the 32-year-old, who had called 911 for help. Timpa told the dispatcher he suffered from schizophrenia and was off his medication, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Officers pinned Timpa’s arms behind his back and tip-tied his legs together. He was restrained for nearly 14 minutes. By the time he was loaded into an ambulance, he was dead.
“He didn’t just die down there did he?” an officer asked after Timpa lost consciousness. “I hope I didn’t kill him.”
The three officers involved in the incident were indicted by a grand jury in 2017 on charges of misdemeanor deadly conduct but prosecutors dismissed the charges, arguing that the officers did not act recklessly.
The video was released as part of a federal lawsuit filed by Timpa’s family for excessive force.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tony Timpa Called 911 for Help After Not Taking His Schizophrenia Medication
Tony Timpa called 911 on August 10, 2016 from the parking lot of a pornography store in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Timpa told the dispatcher he was afraid and needed help. He said he suffered from schizophrenia and depression and had not taken his medication.
Timpa died within 20 minutes of officers arriving on the scene.
An autopsy ruled that Timpa’s cause of death was a homicide. The medical examiner said Timpa died from sudden cardiac arrest due to “the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint.”
2. Video Shows Police Laughing and Mocking Timpa as He Died
Dallas officials had fought since 2016 to stop the release of the body camera video, first arguing that it would interfere with their investigation into the incident and later arguing that the video could not be released because the officers were not prosecuted, The Dallas Morning News reported. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the video must be released because “the public has a compelling interest in understanding what truly took place during a fatal exchange between a citizen and law enforcement.”
The video shows officers mocking Timpa as he pleaded for help.
“You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!” Timpa repeatedly shouted. Timpa pleaded for help more than 30 times as officers restrained him. When Timpa lost consciousness, an officer assumed he fell asleep without checking his pulse and then joked about him. The body camera video also shows that first responders did not begin CPR on Timpa until four minutes after he became unresponsive.
After one officer remarked that Timpa appeared to be asleep, another officer pointed out that he was “out cold.”
“It’s time for school. Wake up!” an officer mocked.
“I don’t want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!” another officer mocked.
The officers are heard laughing as they joked about making him a special breakfast.
As the officers and paramedics tried to get Timpa’s unresponsive body on a stretcher, an officer asked, “He didn’t just die down there did he?”
“I hope I didn’t kill him,” the officer said.
After paramedics told the officers Timpa was dead, one of the officers got out of the ambulance and told someone, before shutting off his body camera, “Sorry, we tried.”
3. Prosecutors Dismissed Charges Against the Officers After They Were Indicted by a Grand Jury
The three officers involved in the incident — Kevin Mansell, Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard — were indicted by a grand jury in 2017 after The Dallas Morning News investigated the death.
The grand jury indicted the officers on misdemeanor deadly conduct. The indictment said the “officers engaged in reckless conduct that placed Timpa in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”
Earlier this year, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot dismissed the charges against the officers.
Creuzot told The Dallas Morning News that “all three examiners” who testified before the grand jury “cannot, and will not, testify to the elements of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.”
4. The Officers Were Allowed to Return to Active Duty This Year
Internal police records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show that an internal affairs probe into the death was completed months before the indictments.
The three officers were disciplined for “conduct discrediting” the police force but the allegations were dropped after Creuzot dismissed the criminal charges.
Police records obtained by the outlet show that Mansell and Vasquez were placed on administrative leave in December 2017 and Dillard was placed on administrative leave in March
The officers were allowed to return to active duty after prosecutors dropped the charges in March.
5. Timpa’s Family Filed a Federal Lawsuit Alleging Excessive Force
The video was released after it was obtained as part of a federal lawsuit filed by Timpa’s family alleging excessive force by the officers.
The video and records obtained by The Dallas Morning News contradict the Dallas police defense of the officers.
A police incident report from the night of Timpa’s death claimed that Timpa was “aggressive and combative” even though he was already handcuffed by a security guard when police arrived and never threatened police.
Police also claimed that the use of force was necessary to stop Timpa from rolling into a busy street but the video shows that a police car was blocking traffic near where Timpa was pinned down.
It’s unclear why paramedics did not react quicker after Timpa lost consciousness.
“I was unable to assess the patient due to his combativeness,” a first responder said in an affidavit obtained by The Dallas Morning News, even though medical responders were seen in the video taking his blood pressure while he was still conscious.