| Crime |

Dallas PD Suspends Cop for "Being Untruthful" About Shooting of Mentally Ill Rylie Man

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Dallas police officer Christopher Watson didn't pull the trigger on Bobby Gerald Bennett, the mentally ill man shot in Rylie last month. That was his partner Carden Spencer, who was fired and may face criminal charges.

What Watson did was tell investigators, on two separate occasions, that when the officers arrived at the cul-de-sac in the 9400 block of Crimson Court, Bennett had taken two steps toward them with a knife raised in an aggressive manner. That's when Spencer fired, hitting Bennett in the stomach. The 53-year-old survived.

Later, a neighbor's surveillance video clearly showed that wasn't true.

See also: Dallas Cops Shot a Schizophrenic Man in Rylie, But It Didn't Go Down Quite Like They Said

So was Watson simply lying to protect his partner? A Dallas Morning News piece in the days following the shooting cautioned against jumping to that conclusion. Human beings often create false memories of traumatic events, a law enforcement expert told the paper. Another said Watson was interviewed before he'd had time to process the event.

That explanation -- that Watson's untruthfulness was subconscious, a trick of the mind -- failed to convince Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Following a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, Brown gave Watson a 15-day suspension for violating DPD policy when he "immediately advanced on a possibly armed person and failed to recognize that entering the space of a person experiencing an episode may cause the person to react violently" and for "being untruthful in a sworn affidavit"

Watson is allowed to appeal the decision under the department's civil service rules.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.