Graphic Body Cam Footage Shows Dallas Police Shooting Mentally Ill Man Holding Screwdriver

Jason Harrison in the final seconds of his life, after being shot by Dallas police.
Jason Harrison in the final seconds of his life, after being shot by Dallas police.

Jason Harrison's mother, Shirley, appears calm on the Dallas police officer's body camera footage as she steps out of her home, followed by her son Jason. "He's off the chain," she says, shaking her head and looking annoyed. "Bipolar, schizo," she says, explaining her son's mental illness to the police.

Jason appears alone in the frame at 1:04, holding a screwdriver with his right fingers.

"Will you drop that for me?" Officer Andrew Hutchins, who is wearing the camera, says before turning to his colleague John Rogers. "Yeah, drop that for me," Rogers says. With Harrison out of the frame, Hutchins begins begins yelling louder. His mother suddenly screams Jason's name as her hand lurches forward. The officers fire. Just six seconds after he first appears in the frame, Harrison is on the ground, dying.

David Harrison sits at a press conference after watching the body camera footage of his brother's death.
David Harrison sits at a press conference after watching the body camera footage of his brother's death.
Amy Silverstein

As he lies on his stomach, appearing to still be alive but unable to move, Hutchins keeps yelling.

"Drop it!" the officer says. He continues to point the gun at Harrison. "Drop it! Put it down."

"Drop it, guy! " a voice says again. "Put the damn thing down. Put the screwdriver down. Put the screwdriver down."

At 2:20, over a minute after Harrison was hit with the gunshots, the officers continue to yell at him as he lies limply on the ground. "Drop it, guy!" a voice says. Finally, at 2:30, an officer walks up to Harrison's body and takes away the screwdriver.

Jason Harrison's death in June marked the first time that a Dallas Police Department officer's body camera captured a fatal, officer involved-shooting. Yet the video wasn't made public until today, when Geoff Henley, the attorney representing Harrison's family in a lawsuit against the city, Rogers and Hutchins, obtained it. "I just don't want to believe it's acceptable in Dallas, Texas, that's how we treat mentally ill people in this town," Harrison's brother David said in a press conference today.

See also: -- Dallas Police's Final, Fatal Encounter with a Schizophrenic -- Dallas Police Praise Body Cams But Still Haven't Released Footage from Controversial Shooting

Their mother, Shirley, often called the police on Jason, as we've reported, but the result was a repeating cycle -- to jail, to a mental hospital and back home. Their mother wanted to place Jason in a permanent home, David says, but could never find one for him. "She wanted long-term care for him and they didn't have anything here for that," David says.

Rogers and Hutchins were placed on administrative leave for five days. DPD Chief David Brown has discussed the footage before and had claimed it supported the officers' accounts that the shooting was justified. Harrison's brother argues that the footage clearly shows the police overreacting.

The family's attorney says that the last he heard from the District Attorney's Office, they still hadn't decided whether or not to turn the case over to a grand jury.

The footage is embedded below. Be warned that it's extremely graphic.

Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.


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