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Texas Officer Charged With Homicide for Shooting Motorist

Bau Tran fired as man started to drive away
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2019 12:48 AM CDT
Texas Officer Charged With Homicide for Shooting Motorist
This Sept. 1, 2018, file screenshot taken from police body camera video shows the hand and gun of Officer Bau Tran pointing his gun into a moving vehicle as the SUV's windows roll up and the vehicle moves forward.   (Arlington Police Department via AP, File)

(Newser) – A Texas grand jury indicted a suburban Dallas police officer Wednesday on a charge of criminally negligent homicide for fatally shooting a black man during a traffic stop last year. The Tarrant County grand jury indicted Arlington Officer Bau Tran eight months after he shot 24-year-old O'Shae Terry in the Dallas suburb. The indictment marks a rare criminal prosecution of a police officer in the historically conservative North Texas county, the AP reports. It could draw greater attention to a case that was largely overshadowed by another in the same month in which a white Dallas police officer fatally shot a black man in his own apartment. Tran shot Terry on Sept. 1 after another officer pulled the Forest Hill resident over on a registration violation.

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After talking for several minutes, body camera footage shows Tran grabbing the passenger-side window of the SUV Terry was driving as it begins to roll up. The officer stepped onto the vehicle's running board as it started to move, pointed his gun into the SUV, and fired multiple shots. Terry later died at a hospital. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Terry's estate, said the indictment was "a huge relief" for his family but also less than they had hoped for. "We are certainly happy that there will be a chance for some form of justice in this case," Merritt says. "But if anyone else had done this it would have been murder." Criminally negligent homicide is a felony and a conviction can lead to a sentence of 180 days to two years in state jail. (Read more Texas stories.)

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