Arlington

Arlington officer who fatally shot motorist at center of lawsuit seeking millions in damages

Full Video: Body camera from officer involved shooting in Arlington

Video released by the Arlington Police department shows the fatal shooting of O'Shae Terry on Sept. 1. Officers can be seen talking to Terry and his passenger before someone in the vehicle rolls the windows up and the car starts.
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Video released by the Arlington Police department shows the fatal shooting of O'Shae Terry on Sept. 1. Officers can be seen talking to Terry and his passenger before someone in the vehicle rolls the windows up and the car starts.

The family of a man who was killed by an Arlington police officer on Sept. 1, 2018, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Arlington and the police officer.

Bau Tran has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of O’Shae Terry. Tran’s employment with the Arlington Police Department has also been terminated.

About 10 minutes after Terry was pulled over by another officer, he started to roll up his windows. Tran, who was standing on the passenger side of the SUV, grabbed the top of the passenger side window with his left hand, ordered Terry to stop, stepped onto the foot rail, put his right arm inside the vehicle and then brought it back out to reach for his gun, according to body camera footage.

The lawsuit was filed by Terrence Harmon, the passenger who was with Terry during the shooting, and Terry’s mother, Sherley Woods.

The lawsuit claims that Tran’s actions violated Terry’s Fourth Amendment rights. It says that the city of Arlington failed to properly train, supervise, screen, discipline, transfer or counsel officers.

“Tran acted in an objectively unreasonable manner and disregarded the rights of (Terry and Harmon),” the lawsuit says.

Terry was shot once in his left thigh and three times in his torso as he was trying to drive away from Tran.

The lawsuit says that Harmon continues to deal with the psychological trauma of what occurred that afternoon.

The SUV kept moving after Terry was shot. The lawsuit says Harmon was forced to grab the steering wheel and had to remove Terry’s leg from the gas pedal in order to get the vehicle to stop. Once stopped, Harmon got out of the SUV and pulled Terry from the vehicle in an attempt to give him aid, the lawsuit says.

Once police reached Harmon, they forced him to the ground and placed him under arrest.

Terry was taken to Medical City Arlington Hospital, where he died.

The lawsuit points to other incidents of force by Arlington police officers to allege that the department lacks training and discipline, including a 2016 incident in which 16 officers resigned because they admitted to writing fake parking tickets and reports.

The lawsuit also mentions the shootings of other men by other Arlington officers:

The death of Jonathan Paul in 2015, which resulted in the city settling a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.25 million. Paul was killed when two Arlington police officers went into his jail cell and used pepper spray to restrain him. He became unresponsive as the officers assaulted him and died in a hospital four days later after his family removed him from life support. Officers Pedro Medina and Steven Schmidt retired and were indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide. Medina pleaded guilty to assault and Schmidt pleaded guilty to official oppression, according to the lawsuit.

The 2015 death of Christian Taylor, a college football player. Taylor broke into a dealership while high and Officer Brad Miller confronted Taylor and ordered him to the ground. Taylor was unarmed but didn’t comply with the orders and began walking toward Miller. Miller shot Taylor four times. The city settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $880,000, the lawsuit says.

The 2017 deaths of Travis Crane and Gabriel Olivas. The wrongful death lawsuits in those cases were filed in 2019 and remain active.

Crane was driving with two adults and an infant when he was stopped by Officer Craig Roper and Cpl. Elise Bowden. They tried to remove Crane, who was unarmed, from the vehicle. He resisted and was shot multiple times, according to the lawsuit.

Police were sent to Olivas home after receiving a report that he was suicidal. He had threatened to kill himself and doused himself in gasoline. Two officers fired their Taser at Olivas, which caused him to catch fire and burn. He died a few days later, the lawsuit says.

The 2019 death of Maggie Brooks. An officer went to the area where Brooks was lying in the grass with her dog on a welfare check. When the officer got there, Brooks’ dog began to ran toward the officer. The officer drew his weapon and fired at the dog multiple times. He shot and killed Brooks.

A representative for the police department forwarded a request for comment to the city. A representative said the city did not have a comment.

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.
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