David Harrison, whose mentally ill son Jason Harrison died at the hands of Dallas police in June, filed a lawsuit on Friday claiming two officers used excessive force when they shot his son six times within minutes of arriving at the son's home on Glencairn Drive.
Linda Turley, David Harrison's lawyer, writes in the lawsuit that officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins shot Jason Harrison "multiple times when Jason Sherard Harrison, an unarmed man, did not pose a risk of injury to himself or others." The police have said that the younger Harrison had a screwdriver in his hand and made an aggressive act toward the officers, causing them to open fire.
Both officers and the city of Dallas are named as defendants.
One of the officers was wearing a body camera that day, but the footage has not been released to the public or to the family because the case is still under investigation. Chief David Brown has said the recording confirms the two officers' statements.
Harrison alleges that his son posed no threat to anyone, including the officers, that day. Police had been called to the house many times before to help subdue the 38-year-old Harrison, whom family members believed suffered from schizophrenia.
By shooting him, the officers violated Harrison's Fourth Amendment right to due process, the lawsuit claims; it also alleges the police department has a history using excessive force.
"The City of Dallas, acting through the Dallas Police Department and officers of the Dallas Police Department, has engaged in the persistent and widespread practice of using excessive force, including deadly force, establishing a custom and practice of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," Turley writes.
Family members of Jason Harrison have attended both town hall meetings hosted by District Attorney Craig Watkins and have asked, sometimes through tears, to see the footage from the day he was killed.
So far, they haven't received an answer that has satisfied them, even though Chief Brown has told them the police can't legally hand over the tape as it might disrupt a grand jury investigation into the shooting.
Turley says Harrison's father wants to know what happened to his son, but he also wants to change how the department deals with people who are mentally ill.
"In light of the historic use of excessive and deadly force by the Dallas Police Department, there was an obvious need for additional and/or different training in the use of force, and in dealing with mental illness," Turley writes.
His son's death has caused him extreme grief, Turley writes. "Mr. Harrison buried his son," she continues, "it is supposed to be the other way around."
Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.
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