Forest Hill police acted reasonably in detaining drug-crazed killer, report says

Posted Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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An administrative investigation has found that Forest Hill police officers acted reasonably and within policy and the law in detaining a man who died shortly after being arrested in the fatal beating of a minister in October, Police Chief Dan Dennis said Wednesday.

The Tarrant County Sheriff's Department conducted the investigation into the death of Derrick Birdow to "protect against the appearance of a conflict of interest," Dennis said.

"All officers were fully exonerated in the matter, and their actions were found to be reasonable and to be within policy and law," Dennis said.

Birdow crashed his car into Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church on Oct. 29, then attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. and a janitor. Responding officers encountered Birdow while preparing to enter the church, then chased him inside, where they found him striking Kirk with an electric guitar.

When Birdow refused their commands to stop, officers shocked him with a Taser and eventually handcuffed him. He had to be carried out to a patrol car and was later found not breathing when medics went to check on him, police have said.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled last week that Birdow died from PCP ingestion and that the Taser did not contribute to his death. The district attorney's office expects to present the case to a Tarrant County grand jury, officials said.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

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