BELTON, Texas (KWTX) – A Bell County jury on Tuesday found former Temple Police Department officer Carmen DeCruz guilty in the death of Michael Dean.
DeCruz was on trial for second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Dean, an unarmed black man, during a traffic stop on December 2, 2019.
After the verdict was announced, one of Dean’s relatives shouted: “This is why we don’t trust the system!” Dean’s entire family then left the courtroom and told local reporters they were not yet ready to speak.
Police said Dean was shot and killed following a car chase after failing to pull over for speeding. According to the arrest affidavit, when Dean stopped, DeCruz approached the car with his gun drawn. As DeCruz reached for the car keys, he pulled the trigger, killing Dean, the document states.
A series of recordings played during the trial, however, showed that DeCruz changed his statement to make it appear that Dean may have been armed.
A series of interviews between the detective and DeCruz were recorded on the night of Dean’s death. Notably, DeCruz says he doesn’t know how his gun discharged the fatal shot. After DeCruz allowed to view his body camera footage, the officer changed his statement to state that Dean allegedly reached for the weapon.
A member of the defense told KWTX DeCruz has no plans to resume his law enforcement career. The former officer, an attorney, is now planning his defense against a civil suit by Dean’s family.
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