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Video stirs debate over Dallas police shooting
Question of the Day
DALLAS (AP) - A newly released dash-cam video has stirred debate over whether the December shooting of an unarmed man by a Dallas police officer was justified.
Senior Cpl. Amy Wilburn was fired after wounding a 19-year-old carjacking suspect on Dec. 9. Wilburn’s attorney has said the ex-officer feared for her life when she shot Kelvion Walker, wounding him. But a witness told investigators the suspect had his hands raised at the time.
Wilburn was the second Dallas officer dismissed since October in shootings superiors have deemed unjustified.
The video was posted Tuesday on the Dallas Police Department’s official YouTube page, http://bit.ly/1gMaLx3 . In it, a carjacking suspect is seen running out of the stolen car after it pulled into an apartment complex. Wilburn runs up to the vehicle as it continues to roll forward. As she opens the driver-side door, she quickly pulls out her gun and fires once. Wilburn then holsters her gun and leans into the car.
In the video, another officer can be seen handing the gun back to Wilburn, by then had walked over to the passenger side of the car. After leaning into the car for less than 30 seconds, Wilburn starts pacing around, with her hands on top of her head.
Wilburn’s attorney, Robert Rogers, has said the ex-officer shot Walker because she believed he was reaching for a weapon.
Walker, who survived, is suing the department. His attorney, Geoff Henley, said in a statement the video vindicated Walker and that Wilburn made “rash, reckless and dangerous decisions.”
Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/1kCbyX1 ) that officers upset with Wilburn’s firing were even more infuriated after seeing the video.
“There’s a lot of these go-getters that want to go out and put bad guys in jail and they aren’t doing it right now because of the possibility that they might have to use deadly force and get fired,” Pinkston said.
Retired Dallas police homicide detective Randy Loboda, who has investigated dozens of officer-involved shootings, told the newspaper Wilburn could have perceived any sudden movement with Walker’s hands as him “going for a gun.”
But Cletus Judge, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, has backed Police Chief David Brown’s decision to fire Wilburn, writing in a recent letter to members that what he saw “in the video was a total disregard for the policies and procedures set in place to handle that situation.”
Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, said Wilburn shouldn’t have rushed the moving car because she risked being ambushed.
After the shooting, police officials announced a restructuring of some deadly force training. Brown said officers will now go through some realistic live simulation training every few months, rather than once every two years.
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