3 cops in­dicted in death

Un­armed, high man had called 911; charges are mis­de­meanors

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - By TASHA TSIAPERAS Staff Writer ttsi­a­peras@dal­las­news.com

Three Dal­las po­lice of­fi­cers were in­dicted Thurs­day on crim­i­nal charges in con­nec­tion with last year’s death of an un­armed Rock­wall man who called 911 for help.

Pan­ick­ing and high on co­caine, Tony Timpa was dead within an hour of call­ing po­lice to a seedy stretch of West Mock­ing­bird Lane in Au­gust 2016. The re­spond­ing of­fi­cers mocked the 32-year-old as he died, with one of­fi­cer’s knee pinned in his back for more than 14 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence re­vealed in a Septem­ber in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The

Dal­las Morn­ing News.

In­dict­ments of po­lice of­fi­cers were once rare, but six cops — in­clud­ing a fired Mesquite of­fi­cer who was also in­dicted this week — have been crim­i­nally charged this year.

Dal­las po­lice Sgt. Kevin Mansell, 48, and Of­fi­cer Danny Vasquez, 32, were each in­dicted on one count of mis­de­meanor deadly con­duct by a Dal­las County grand jury in con­nec­tion with Timpa’s death.

The third of­fi­cer faces the same charge but was not iden­ti­fied be­cause he has yet to sur­ren­der to au­thor­i­ties.

Timpa’s mother, Vicki Timpa, told The News she’s pleased the grand jury in­dicted the of­fi­cers, though she was puz­zled that it was a mis­de­meanor and not a felony charge.

“They need to go to jail,” she said. “I want them to smell the rust on the bars.”

Timpa said she wants the pub­lic to see body cam­era footage of what hap­pened that night, but of­fi­cials have re­fused to re­lease it so far.

Dal­las po­lice of­fi­cials have not said whether the of­fi­cers have been dis­ci­plined and did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment about the in­dict­ments.

Mesquite of­fi­cer’s case

On Wed­nes­day, for­mer Mesquite Of­fi­cer Der­ick Wi­ley was in­dicted on a felony charge of ag­gra­vated as­sault by a pub­lic ser­vant. Mesquite po­lice fired Wi­ley last week af­ter an in­ter­nal af­fairs in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Nov. 8 shoot­ing of 31-year-old Lyndo Jones.

Sev­eral civil rights ad­vo­cates crit­i­cized how the Po­lice Depart­ment and the Dal­las County district at­tor­ney’s of­fice han­dled the Mesquite in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

At­tor­ney Lee Mer­ritt also al­leged that of­fi­cers per­formed an “anal cav­ity search” on Jones af­ter the shoot­ing.

Mesquite Chief Charles Cato said that al­le­ga­tion was not ac­cu­rate, adding that body cam­eras recorded the in­ci­dent.

“This gen­er­a­tion of po­lice of­fi­cers is the most doc­u­mented, recorded, tracked,” Cato said Thurs­day. “There’s noth­ing they can do that won’t be seen.” In Timpa’s case, The Dal­las

Morn­ing News sought records from the Dal­las Po­lice Depart­ment re­lated to his death for more than a year. In Septem­ber,

The News pub­lished an in­ves­ti­ga­tion doc­u­ment­ing dis­crep­an­cies in of­fi­cial records and the Timpa fam­ily’s strug­gle to get an­swers about how the man died.

On Aug. 10, 2016, Timpa called 911 ask­ing for help af­ter he pan­icked in the park­ing lot of a porn store. He told a dis­patcher he feared for his safety, that he suf­fered from anx­i­ety and schizophre­nia and was off his pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions.

A pri­vate se­cu­rity guard hand­cuffed Timpa be­fore Dal­las of­fi­cers ar­rived. Timpa was un­armed, in shorts and bare­foot.

Footage from po­lice body cam­eras shows the of­fi­cers mock­ing Timpa as he strug­gled to breathe, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed by Timpa’s fam­ily.

Law­suit fil­ings al­lege that two of the body cam­era an­gles show one of the of­fi­cers’ knee re­mained on Timpa’s back for more than 14 min­utes, while Timpa re­peat­edly begged: “Don’t hurt me.”

The of­fi­cers re­port­edly re­mained on top of him af­ter he lost con­scious­ness, and didn’t be­gin CPR un­til Timpa had been un­re­spon­sive for sev­eral min­utes. One of the of­fi­cers is re­port­edly cap­tured on cam­era say­ing: “I hope I didn’t kill him.”

Timpa’s death was ruled a homi­cide, and the cause was sud­den car­diac death due to the toxic ef­fects of co­caine and the stress as­so­ci­ated with phys­i­cal re­straint.

On phone with mother

Mansell was on the phone with Timpa’s mother for part of the in­ci­dent. Court records show Mansell said, “what the [ex­ple­tive]” af­ter see­ing Timpa’s con­di­tion.

He is a 27-year vet­eran of the Dal­las Po­lice Depart­ment. He was pre­vi­ously sus­pended for one day for his role in han­dling a 911 call about D’lisa Kel­ley, who was later found dead. Mansell was also in­volved in an off-duty shoot­ing of two teenagers as a rookie.

The third of­fi­cer was hired by the Dal­las Po­lice Depart­ment in March 2015, and Vasquez is a four-year vet­eran of the force.

In the Mesquite case, of­fi­cers re­sponded to a ve­hi­cle break-in call in the 1300 block of South Town East Boule­vard. Po­lice of­fi­cials said Jones ran when of­fi­cers ar­rived. He was shot dur­ing a strug­gle and con­tin­ued to fight un­til three other of­fi­cers ar­rived and hand­cuffed him.

Wi­ley, 35, is ap­peal­ing his ter­mi­na­tion. He turned him­self in to the Tar­rant County jail and was re­leased on $300,000 bond Wed­nes­day.

Jones’ at­tor­neys, Mer­ritt and Justin Moore, said he ac­ci­den­tally set off his truck’s alarm and was try­ing to turn it off when of­fi­cers ar­rived.

The at­tor­neys said Wi­ley shot Jones in the ab­domen while the man tried to ex­plain what hap­pened.

Mer­ritt is also rep­re­sent­ing the fam­ily of Jor­dan Ed­wards, the 15-year-old who was killed by fired Balch Springs Of­fi­cer Roy Oliver out­side a party in April. Oliver was in­dicted on a mur­der charge.

Dal­las po­lice Of­fi­cer Christo­pher Hess was also in­dicted this year on an ag­gra­vated as­sault by a pub­lic ser­vant charge in the shoot­ing death of 21-year-old Genevive Dawes in Jan­uary.

Of­fi­cials said Dawes was driv­ing a stolen car and rammed a pa­trol car, but a fed­eral wrong­ful-death law­suit filed against the city says Dawes bought the car a month be­fore the shoot­ing and was un­aware it had been stolen.


Pho­tos by Andy Ja­cob­sohn/staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Vicki Timpa, whose son Tony died in po­lice cus­tody in Au­gust 2016, said she’s pleased the grand jury in­dicted the three Dal­las of­fi­cers. But she doesn’t un­der­stand why they were charged with a mis­de­meanor, not a felony.

Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence re­vealed in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The News, of­fi­cers mocked Tony Timpa as he died, with one of­fi­cer’s knee pinned in his back for over 14 min­utes.

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