It was the shot heard by a couple of neighbors in Rylie but, thanks to a neighbor's conveniently placed surveillance camera, seen by thousands more: On October 14, 2013, Dallas police officer Cardan Spender shot Bobby Gerald Bennett in the stomach.
Bennett was confronted by police after his mother called 911 for help dealing with her son, who is schizophrenic. The video shows him sitting in a chair in a cul-de-sac when the cops show up. Contrary to what Spencer and partner Christopher Watson would tell investigators, Bennett didn't approach them with a knife; he merely stood up.
Now for the inevitable: an excessive-force lawsuit against DPD, Spencer, and Watson. It was filed on Friday by attorney Don Tittle, fresh off his $800,000 victory over the department in the case of a woman who was wrongly jailed on suspicion of murdering her boyfriend.
In the suit, Tittle calls the shooting "unwarranted and unnecessary."
"There was absolutely no justification for any use of force against Mr. Bennett, much less potentially deadly force."
Adding insult to (literal) injury, police charged Bennett with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a charge that was dropped after the surveillance video became public.
Bennett alleges that Spencer and Watson used excessive force and placed him under arrest without justification or probable cause. The city was complicit in these actions, the suit argues, because it failed to provide proper training and supervision to Spencer and Watson.
Spencer was eventually fired; Watson was suspended for 15 days for "being untruthful" during the investigation.
Bennett, meanwhile, is still recovering from the shooting. Tittle tells The Dallas Morning News that he'll likely have stomach and bowel problems for the rest of his life.
(h/t The Dallas Morning News)
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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