Here we go again. A Texas police officer has reportedly killed a Black person under suspicious circumstances, and all indications point toward a possible coverup. Sound familiar?
The mother of a young Black man killed by police claims a detective said that her son was shot in the head even though he didn’t have a gun or pose a threat to the officer involved. Michael Dean was killed on Monday, according to Temple Daily Telegraph. But days later, there are still a handful of unanswered questions.
“If my son was in the wrong, so be it,” Christine Dean said on Wednesday. “But why is he dead? He didn’t deserve to be shot down. Nobody can give me answers. If he was in the wrong there would [be] a whole story out there, wouldn’t there?”
Temple Police shared only basic details about the incident and directed media questions to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The investigation was transferred to the Texas Rangers and the Bell County District Attorney’s Office. The officer, who has nine years of experience on the force, had not been identified as of Friday afternoon.
“At this time the investigation is still ongoing; any new information will be released when warranted as to not compromise the investigation.” DPS Sgt. Bryan Washko said.
Dean’s mother said a police detective initially told her that her son didn’t pull over right away and when he exited the car, he walked toward the officer, who then shot him.
“Things just don’t add up. He knows not to get out of a car when he’s pulled over. And people said they saw the police officer pull him (Michael) out of the car,” she said.
Christine Dean said the people who should be giving her answers, the Temple Police Department, are refraining to do so. “Temple has washed their hands of it. We’re told to contact the Texas Rangers,” she said.
The Temple Police Department didn’t release info that someone was killed in an officer-involved shooting until Tuesday afternoon. When questioned as to why this was omitted from the initial news release after Dean had already been declared dead, spokesman Chris Christoff said the incident occurred in public, “meaning that the vehicle had the potential of being easily recognizable. We wanted an opportunity to notify Dean’s family prior to releasing the information to the public.”
Christine Dean said the cops didn’t tell the family that Michael was dead until about 1:30 a.m., which was more than five hours after he was shot. He was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m., shortly after he was shot at around 8:15 p.m.
Christoff’s excuse for the late family notification was “The area was subject to extensive investigative procedure to include stabilizing the scene; maintaining the flow of traffic; contacting and the arrival of all the necessary resources and off-duty personnel to include justice of the peace; contacting all of the investigators to the scene to include the Texas Rangers; and confirming the identity of the deceased and the identifies/contact inform for next of kin.”
The officer-involved shooting also wasn’t listed on LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which is what Temple Police Department uses to inform the public of incidents in the neighborhood.
Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield issued the order for an autopsy, and explained that the body was sent Tuesday morning to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. Dean’s body has yet to be returned by press time Wednesday, Duffield said. Dean was shot in the head, according to Duffield.
Michael was adopted by his family at four years old along with his four siblings. “He’s not a criminal. He wasn’t out there committing crimes,” his mother said. “They’re making it seem like he was a bad person.”
“I feel like someone messed up. I really do,” Christine said. “I want to know why my son died on the concrete. I’ve never heard of anyone not giving information about their loved one. If he did something wrong and you had to do it, so be it — but tell me.”
Dean leaves behind three elementary-age children.