Passenger who saw Arlington police shoot O’Shae Terry asks an officer about policies
Terrance Harmon’s softly spoken words were barely audible in the back of the church meeting room, but everyone became silent when he stepped up to talk on Tuesday evening.
“I sat in that car after I watched everything that happened, for at least six hours,” he said, recalling the day his friend was shot and killed by an Arlington police officer. “They took my phone, they took everything I had in my pockets. I had no transportation, no keys and they dropped me off at the side of the QT and told me to find myself to Fort Worth.”
Then his attorney, Lee Merritt, took the microphone. He said police haven’t spoken to Harmon since.
Harmon, 24, was the passenger in the backseat of his friend’s car when an Arlington police officer stopped the driver, 24-year-old O’Shae Terry, for an expired registration tag on Sept. 1. Terry took off from the stop, and an unidentified officer shot into the vehicle from the passenger side, killing him.
Arlington police spokesperson Karen Standback said in an email to the Star-Telegram that, “the passenger was interviewed about the entire incident by detectives on September 1.”
Harmon spoke publicly for the first time about what happened that day during a meeting of the Arlington chapter of the NAACP Tuesday night.
About 50 people attended, and he walked them through the body camera footage that was released by police after the shooting.
When Terry was stopped, a female officer told him she’d have to search his SUV because she smelled marijuana. She went back to her cruiser as a male officer stood outside Harmon’s door. About 10 minutes into the stop, Terry started to roll up both windows.
The male officer, who has not been identified, grabbed the top of Harmon’s window with his left hand, stepped onto the foot rail, put his right arm inside the vehicle and then brought it back out to reach for his gun.
He shot into the vehicle at least four times, killing Terry.
Harmon said the first shot was fired before Terry hit the gas pedal. Dashcam video shows the car started to move forward a second before the first shot was heard.
“You can see he tried to crank the car up twice,” Harmon said. “You can see how long it took O’Shae just to take off. His body was out. He had no control of the car. As the car is rolling, O’Shae is gone.”
Harmon said he had to remove Terry’s foot from the gas pedal and stop the car himself. The SUV stopped about a half-mile away.
After Harmon stopped Terry’s vehicle, he said that before he could move he was surrounded by police.
“Everybody had their gun drawn,” he said.
He said he was interviewed for about 10 minutes.
“They asked me questions about where I was going,” he said. Merritt added that the investigators never questioned Harmon about the shooting itself, and still haven’t.
Arlington Deputy Chief Carol Riddle also attended the meeting, and was asked why Harmon was treated that way after the shooting.
“I don’t know,” she said, “other than the fact that you were interviewed on the scene that day by a homicide detective and your interview was recorded for about 10 minutes. Other than that, I don’t know what happened after that so I can’t comment about whether you were dropped off at the QT or not. I don’t know anything about any of that.”
“He just told you,” a woman shouted from the back of the room.
Riddle made no response.