DALLAS – A grand jury has declined to indict two Dallas police officers who fatally shot a mentally ill man armed with a screwdriver in an incident last year that was recorded by a police body camera.
The Dallas County grand jury decided Thursday that no charges were warranted against John Rogers, 40, and Andrew Hutchins, 29, in the death last June of 38-year-old Jason Harrison. The officers still face a civil case brought by Harrison's family, which is suing them and the city in federal court.
The officers said Harrison had aggressively raised the screwdriver and lunged forward. Chris Livingston, an attorney for the officers, said the video, when slowed, shows Harrison raising his arm up in a stabbing motion just before both officers open fire.
"We appreciate the grand jury's consideration of all the evidence in this matter," Livingston said. "The city is currently defending the civil lawsuit. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those struggling with mental illness."
The city attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday.
Geoff Henley, the family's attorney, said his clients are "severely disappointed" with the grand jury's decision but will move ahead with the civil case. "They genuinely feel let down," he said.
The body camera footage released last month by Harrison's family shows the confrontation quickly escalating.
Hutchins and Rogers drew their guns seconds before the shooting after Harrison appeared on the front porch with a screwdriver. He was within a few feet of the officers and did not drop the tool as they yelled at him to do.
Police had responded to the home after Harrison's mother, Shirley Harrison, reported to them that her son was making "violent threats" and was bipolar. She had called police dozens of times over the years to deal with him. Months before the shooting, Jason Harrison had pleaded guilty to spitting in two officers' faces.
Police have said both officers were wearing body cameras, but the other camera didn't function properly.
Hutchins and Rogers remain on active duty.