A state police association has filed a complaint with the Texas attorney general’s office alleging that the Tarrant County district attorney’s office violated state law by releasing video of a Fort Worth police shooting before the case went to a grand jury.
Dash cam video of the shooting — which happened in July and left a suspect, David Brandon Collie, 33, paralyzed — was released to the suspect’s attorney, Nate Washington, who presented the footage to news outlets last month.
The officer has not been disciplined by the Police Department and his case has not yet been presented to a grand jury.
On Tuesday, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which represents the officer involved, filed a complaint against Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson.
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The complaint was accepted by the attorney general’s office Tuesday, said CLEAT Executive Director Charlie Wilkison.
The complaint alleges that Wilson’s office violated state open records law and that releasing the video and other documents “has clearly tainted the jury pool” against the police officer, identified by CLEAT as “Officer H. Barron.”
Wilson, the complaint said, acknowledged to the Fort Worth Police Officers Association “that her office had wrongfully released the documents” in response to the request filed by Washington.
“However, the D.A. has refused to take any additional action to negate her office’s criminal violation of the Open Records Act and to negate the damage done to Officer H. Barron and his case pending the Grand Jury,” the CLEAT complaint said.
Violating the state open records law is a misdemeanor charge.
The district attorney’s office had not seen a copy of the complaint by Tuesday evening, spokeswoman Sam Jordan said.
“File this under our own local version of fake news. All we’ve seen is a Facebook photo of a manila envelope,” Jordan said in a statement, referring to CLEAT’s post about the complaint. “We don’t have any comment on that.”
The attorney general’s office could not be reached for comment.
The officer-involved shooting happened July 28 at an apartment complex in the 2700 block of North Normandale Street.
Police were looking for suspects in a late-night robbery that occurred at a nearby gas station. One of the suspects displayed a silver handgun and robbed someone, police said, and then both suspects fled on foot to a nearby apartment complex.
Barron and another officer were in a Fort Worth patrol car working an off-duty assignment and saw someone matching the description of one of the robbers duck behind a row of bushes.
As the officers exited the patrol car, the suspect began walking away from them and a sheriff’s deputy.
The officers gave oral commands for the suspect to stop, but he kept walking. He was told again by the officers to stop and show the officers his hands, one of which was in a pants pocket.
The suspect then removed a silver object from his pocket and pointed it directly at the deputy, police said. Barron saw the silver object, believed the man was threatening the deputy with a firearm, and fired two rounds at Collie, striking him once in the lower torso.
The suspect dropped the silver object, police said, which turned out to be a box cutter. The officer immediately began to treat Collie’s gunshot wound and bleeding with his department-issued tactical medical kit until paramedics arrived.
Washington, Collie’s attorney, has argued that the shooting was unjustified, pointing out that a grand jury declined to indict Collie on any charges.
Washington said a box blade was recovered by officers 10 feet from where Collie was shot, but he declined to say whether it belonged to Collie.
Washington released the video of the shooting last month, following the viral arrest of Jacqueline Craig, a black mother who was arrested by Fort Worth police after calling to report an alleged assault of her son.
Washington said he released the video because he and Collie thought it was important to show that questionable incidents against black people are more common than people realize.