Arlington

Video shows Arlington officer shooting driver who tried to take off from stop

Authorities have released about 30 minutes worth of video footage from the afternoon an Arlington police officer shot and killed a driver who was taking off from a traffic stop.

The driver of the SUV was stopped by a female officer at about 1:45 p.m. Sept. 1 in the 2800 block of South Bowen Road for an expired registration sticker.

The video the Police Department released includes dashcam footage from the officer who pulled the driver over, as well as from her body camera and the body camera of the officer who fired the shots.

Arlington police redacted parts of the audio that reveals both of the officers’ names.

However, the driver identifies himself as Oshae Terry, 24, after he tells the female officer — labeled as the “primary officer” in the video — that he doesn’t have his identification with him.

Several minutes into the stop, a male officer approaches the passenger side of the Tahoe.

“I smell marijuana, I’m going to be honest,” the woman tells Terry.

“Can I just tell you the truth?” he asks.

“Please, I love the truth,” the officer says.

Terry begins to reach forward and she asks him to tell her what he’s doing. He grabs for something and tells her that he only has a joint and that he and the unidentified passenger smoked earlier before going to Sonic for food.

“I still got to search your car,” she tells him. “I still have a job to do. Can you just sit tight with this officer for a second and I’m going to step back to my car.”

Ten minutes after the stop — the dashcam footage shows that Terry pulled away at 1:55:44 p.m. — the male officer fires two shots within the first two seconds and then two more rounds.

The primary officer is heard calling for EMS at 1:56:10 p.m.

The body camera footage from the officer who fired the shots shows that he asked Terry to turn off the SUV as the primary officer walked back to her car.

“If you don’t have anymore (marijuana) inside the vehicle, you shouldn’t have to worry about it,” the officer tells the driver. “We just have to do what we have to do.”

Shortly afterward, Terry starts to roll up both windows.

“Hey, hey, hey, hey!” the officer says. He grabs the top of the passenger-side window with his left hand, steps onto the foot rail, puts his right arm inside the vehicle, then brings it back out and reaches for his gun.

The officer yells for Terry to stop.

Terry says twice that he isn’t going anywhere and that he isn’t going to jail.

As the SUV moves forward, the officer shoots inside the vehicle four times.

One of the men can be heard crying, and the passenger starts to yell at Terry to stop the car.

The SUV crosses over two lanes of traffic, veers up a curb and onto a sidewalk where the officer falls off.

The vehicle eventually stops in the 2200 block of California Lane.

Police said at the time of the shooting that they began life-saving measures on Terry. He was taken to Medical City Arlington hospital where he was pronounced dead, Officer Christopher Cook said.

After searching the SUV, officers found 1.09 pounds of marijuana, 7 grams of Ecstasy pills, a .40-caliber Glock handgun and an extended 29-round magazine, Cook said. Attorney Lee Merritt for the Terry family said the items were found in a bag in the backseat of the vehicle and were not a threat to the officers.

“It’s important to know how little a factor it played in this,” Merritt said. “This was another shooting of an unarmed black man.”

Police also said the officer’s arm was stuck in the car, but video shows that he was able to remove his right arm before opening fire.

Attorneys for the Terry family said during a news conference Friday that there was no justification for the use of force exhibited by the officer.

“When there are disputed facts — in this case, the officer’s initial statement and what we now see — the only way to find justice is by having a trial ... we are pushing for there to be an indictment and trial so this can be sorted out in front of a grand jury and a jury,” a spokeswoman for the Mother’s Against Police Brutality said.

Merritt said the police officer was violating the department’s policy and law when he opened fire. Merritt is doing an independent investigation as well.

“We believe body camera footage belongs in the public domain, so I applaud the city officials who made the decision to release the video,” he said. “Now that they’ve engaged in transparency, we need accountability as well. ... There’s no question about it, this was not a justified shooting.”

The shooting has been compared to the murder of Jordan Edwards by former Balch Springs police Officer Roy Oliver. Oliver shot into a car where Edwards was sitting in April 2017. A jury found him guilty of murder in August.

On Thursday evening, the Arlington NAACP released a statement about the shooting.

“Mr. Terry was unarmed and accompanied by another black male who was also unarmed and non-violent,” President Alisa Simmons said in the release. “The Arlington NAACP has met with the mother of Mr. Terry, the mayor and city manager.”

Simmons said the group is grateful that the body cameras captured what happened during the stop.

“Details of how this traffic stop escalated into a shooting still leaves many unanswered questions surrounding the use of deadly force in Mr. Terry’s case,” she wrote. “The availability of this evidence allows us to now demand that our prosecutor and law enforcement officials take the appropriate action to investigate and, where appropriate, punish any public servant found to be responsible for wrongdoing.”

The group said this is the fourth time an African American man has been killed by the Arlington Police Department since March 2015. Those men include Jonathan Paul, Christian Taylor, Travis Crane and now Terry.

Nichole Manna, 817-390-7684, @NicholeManna
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