Texas police officer charged with manslaughter in shooting death of unarmed man

A cop in Central Texas has been charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, according to reports.

Temple Officer Carmen DeCruz was charged with the second-degree felony in the Dec. 2 shooting of Michael Dean, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said in a statement.

This Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, booking photo provided by the Bell County Jail shows Temple Police officer Carmen DeCruz. (Bell County Jail via AP)

This Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, booking photo provided by the Bell County Jail shows Temple Police officer Carmen DeCruz. (Bell County Jail via AP)

His bond was set at $500,000.

He was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.

If convicted of the charge, DeCruz could face two to 20 years in prison.

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Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Michael Dean's family, said in a Facebook post: "The Dean family finds this charge wholly inappropriate given the evidence available in the case."

The attorney added in a statement: “Michael Dean was shot in the temple through a closed door seconds after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation.”

DeCruz tried to stop Dean for speeding on the night of Dec. 2, but the 28-year-old didn't stop and a "short pursuit ensued," according to a police report filed by Texas Ranger Samuel Dendy.

The report dated Dec. 30 and sent to the Texas Attorney General’s Office also referred to “an altercation of some sort between” the men but didn’t elaborate, and the charging document doesn’t reference it.

An arrest affidavit issued Monday said that once Dean was stopped, DeCruz went to the passenger side window and demanded that Dean shut the motor off and hand over the keys.

This file photo provided by the family of Michael Dean shows Dean with his daughter Te'yana. (Courtesy from Michael Dean Family via AP, File)

This file photo provided by the family of Michael Dean shows Dean with his daughter Te'yana. (Courtesy from Michael Dean Family via AP, File)

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Police video then shows DeCruz, with his gun in his right hand and his finger on the trigger, reached in for the keys with the left hand and pulled back, discharging the gun at Dean's head.

He and other responding officers administered first aid until paramedics arrived, but Dean was dead at the scene, the affidavit stated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.