Not Above the Law

Dallas police chief fires officer who shot mentally ill man

Dallas police chief fires officer who shot mentally ill man

Ten days after a mentally ill man was shot by police outside his Dallas home, police chief David Brown fired the officer responsible. Cardan Spencer, who had been with the force since 2007, was terminated at a disciplinary hearing on October 24 for violating policies regarding mentally ill persons and use of deadly force.

Additionally, Spencer could be charged with aggravated assault and there will be an internal investigation into the actions of his partner, Christopher Watson. 

The victim, 52-year-old Bobby Bennett, is still in stable condition at Baylor Hospital. The assault charges against Bennett have been dropped.

Around noon on October 14, two officers responded to a 911 call in the 9400 block of Crimson Court. Bennett's mother, Joyce Jackson, called police because she was worried her son might harm himself. According to police, Jackson said her son was armed with a knife and "acting violent."

Officer Spencer responded to the scene with his partner, Christopher Watson. The pair can be seen approaching Bennett on the neighbor's security camera footage. Spencer initially reported that Bennett, who is schizophrenic, lunged at him with a knife.

But the video shows the two officers approaching Bennett as he sits in an office chair in the street. Bennett wheels back in the chair and stands up, hands at his side. Spencer fires his weapon multiple times and Bennett hits the ground, clutching his side.

Watson then callously rolls the unmoving Bennett onto his stomach and handcuffs him from behind.

Early on, chief Brown vowed to investigate the incident fully. Bennett has retained high-profile attorney George Milner and a civil lawsuits seems imminent.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown
Dallas police chief David Brown fired one officer and opened an investigation into the actions of his partner. DPD/Twitter
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Officer Cardan Spencer has been fired for using deadly force against a mentally ill man in South Dallas. TTXtra.org