DeCruz trial: Ex-DA considers jury’s not-guilty verdict, legal battle over body camera footage

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) – The fatal shooting of Michael Dean, an unarmed black man, in 2019 drew national attention as thousands expressed their views on the incident that led to the arrest of an officer involved in a traffic stop.

Three years later, only 12 opinions were significant, and in the end, members of the jury found former Temple police officer Carmen DeCruz guilty.

That’s not what Dean’s family wanted to hear after spending every day in the courtroom.

“Each of us has our own world view. The way we see things. So the same two or three people may see the same set of facts but interpret them differently,” former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell said during the jury deliberations in the case.

12 jurors include one black man, one gay woman, and 10 white or other races.

The jury reached its verdict in less than two hours after deliberating a large amount of evidence.

One of the biggest pieces of evidence was the body camera that DeCruz was wearing.

“What happens to our citizens on the streets, especially when an unarmed man is shot, should be public,” Feazell said of the body camera footage, which has never been released to the public.

The Temple Police Department released a statement Tuesday referring to the footage.

“Although a not guilty verdict has been reached, the criminal cases will not be closed until all appeals have been completed,” the statement said.

Although the city claims to release the body camera video once the civil lawsuit is settled, KWTX is actively working to obtain the footage.

“I understand that’s why they want to keep it, but in the long run, it’s not going to get there. They need to release this tape,” Feazell said.

In a recorded statement, Temple’s police chief asked for “unity” within the community and wants to learn from these events.

“Our desire as a society is to move forward together and identify areas for improvement. Members of the Temple Police Department look forward to working together with members of the community to learn, listen, discuss and work as one,” said Temple City Police Chief Shawn Reynolds.

KWTX attempted to contact Lee Merritt, the attorney for the Dean family, but did not hear back after the sentencing.

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