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.
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.
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