Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says he has “concerns about the tactics” that led to an officer shooting at an unarmed man during a chase Thursday in Far East Dallas.
Neither the man nor any officers were physically injured in the incident that happened at about 8:30 p.m. when police were called to a report of an armed encounter in the 9700 block of Rustown Drive, near Ferguson Road and Oates Drive.
Police said a 911 caller said that five to seven people were drinking, smoking and shooting a gun in the air. A second 911 caller gave a physical description of a man who was wearing an orange shirt and was standing with the group of people. The caller said the man pointed a gun at him, police said.
When officers arrived, police said they found multiple people who matched the description on the call sheet and saw a man wearing an orange shirt sitting on the sidewalk.
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Officer Branson Grisham drew his gun and began to approach the man in the orange shirt. Police said Grisham gave loud commands for the man to come toward him, but the man went down an alley.
Grisham chased after the man and when he turned around the corner, police said the man’s back was turned and he was “manipulating something in his front waistband.”
Grisham told the man to show his hands and fired one shot, which missed the man. No weapon was found on the man or during the incident, police said.
Detectives interviewed and released the man, and he was not arrested or charged, police said.
“I’m thankful no one was injured. However, after watching the body cam footage, I have some concerns about the tactics that led to the shooting,” Garcia said at a news conference Wednesday. “As I have said many times and when we’re right, we’re right. When we stumble, we need to hold ourselves accountable. Officer Grisham has been placed on administrative leave in accordance to department policies.”
He said the criminal investigation has been referred to a grand jury, and will also be investigated by the department’s internal affairs unit.
Garcia said he has concerns, “particularly from a training perspective.”
He did not elaborate about the recent shooting, but said that “time, distance and cover” are important in every situation.
“We’re at a critical point in this police department,” he said. “We’re going on a very large hiring push and if there’s ever a time to set a standard it is now. We have to ensure our men and women realize that.”
On Wednesday, the department released Grisham’s body-worn camera footage from night of the shooting. The video shows the officer walking up to a group of people standing between the laundromat and a gas station.
A man in an orange shirt can be seen sitting on a curb with his back turned to the officer, who yells at the man, “hey, guy in orange shirt.”
The man turns around, sees the officer and starts to run down the alley. The officer yells at him to “come here” and runs after him.
As the officer rounds the corner, another person who was behind the building crouches down as the officers approach.
The officer yells “show me your [expletive] hands, hands, hands” and fires one shot toward the man in the orange shirt who — when illuminated by a light — appears to be facing the officer with arms out.
After the shot, the man walks toward police with his arms up and lays down on the ground.
“I’ve sat in front here and defended my men and women and I will defend them to the hill when I believe they’re right,” Garcia said. “That credibility has to work both ways and I have concerns about this and we’re looking into that as well.”
Garcia said from what he’s seen “on paper,” Grisham is “an exceptional police officer.”
Grisham is a six-year veteran of the department assigned to the northeast patrol division. He does not have any prior shooting incidents, according to Deputy Chief Terrence Rhodes.
The shooting is the fifth this year involving a Dallas police officer, Rhodes said.