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Cops Explain Why They Mocked Man Who Died

Dallas officers say they were trying to 'perk up' Tony Timpa
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2019 9:30 AM CDT
Vicki Timpa, left, talks to the media about her son, Tony Timpa, as attorney, Geoff Henley listens in Dallas on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.   (Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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(Newser) – Dallas police officers who handcuffed and pinned down a struggling schizophrenic until he died say their mocking banter was really a strategy, the Dallas Morning News reports. The explanation emerged in audio of a police hearing into the 2016 death of Tony Timpa. "When we're kind of going through that banter and mocking and everything, I was just trying to see if I could get him to kind of perk up, so OK ... now I know he's listening," said one of the officers. "I had a strategy in mind. Of course looking back at everything, it was the completely wrong way to approach it." Body camera footage of the incident shows Timpa was restrained, mostly face-down, as one officer seemed to talk like a child: "I don't want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!" he said, per CNN.

Timpa had called 911 saying he suffered from depression and schizophrenia and was off his meds. He was initially handcuffed by security guards, per court documents, and police say they restrained him for being "combative and aggressive" in the parking lot of a Dallas porn store. The Dallas County Medical Examiner says he "died of sudden cardiac arrest, secondarily caused by the toxic effects of cocaine and stress associated with physical restraint." Senior Cpl. Raymond Dominguez and Officer Danny Vasquez received only reprimands, and Timpa's family has filed four civil lawsuits, per NBC Dallas Fort-Worth. "The best thing that can happen to my son right now is for these officers to lose their badge," said Timpa's mother. But an officer at the hearing said that "if I could apologize to him, I would apologize to him." (Read more police stories.)

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