DALLAS, TX — Another Dallas police officer is under investigation for shooting an unarmed man as he surrendered with both hands in the air.
Witness Scottie Smith II said he watched as a Dallas police officer shot carjacking suspect Kelvion Walker, 19, who had both hands in the air. The incident occurred on December 9th, 2013.
The officer was identified as Senior Cpl. Amy Wilburn, who was hired in 2001 and is a veteran officer. Walker was not charged with a crime and was put into critical condition at a Dallas hospital following the shooting.
The Dallas Police Department issued a news release late Tuesday about the shooting. The statement said that no weapons were found in the car. It also said police were reviewing dash cam video from the squad cars and were attempting to enhance the video in order to assist in the investigation.
The statement did say that investigators had spoken to an independent witness who told them that Walker had both his hands in the air.
“He was screaming,” said Robert Rogers, who is representing Walker. “It was clear to her that there wasn’t a threat once she could see both hands. He was obviously incapacitated.”
View the dash-cam footage below:
This recent shooting comes in the wake of a mid-October case in which a residential surveillance video showed a Dallas police officer shooting a mentally ill man who was standing with his arms at his sides. The police fabricated a story about the man charging at them wielding a knife, but the video clearly showed otherwise. That officer has been fired and his partner was reprimanded. It also led to a change in the way the Dallas Police Department deals with officers who have been involved in shootings. Previously, those officers would typically give investigators detailed statements about the incidents within hours of the incident.
But the new policy requires officers to take 72 hours before giving detectives an official statement. Officers can still provide an immediate bare-bones walk-through with their attorney present so investigators can start their work.
“Officer Wilburn perceived Walker to be an imminent threat, drew her weapon and discharged it once striking him,” the statement said.
Corporal Amy Wilburn has been terminated and her case sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review. The Dallas PD provided the following press release:
Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn, #8111, was involved in the following incident: On December 9,2013, Senior Corporal Wilburn and other officers drove behind a vehicle that they had been told was taken in an earlier robbery by armed suspects who had fired shots at the owner of the vehicle. While the vehicle was moving slowly, the driver jumped out and began running and the passenger remained inside the vehicle. The other officers began to pursue the driver while Senior Corporal Wilburn ran toward the vehicle with her weapon still holstered. As Senior Corporal Wilburn opened the driver’s door, she appeared surprised at the sight of the suspect sitting in the passenger seat and almost immediately drew her weapon and fired once, striking the suspect once in the side. The Internal Affairs investigation concluded that Senior Corporal Wilburn violated the Department’s use of Deadly Force policy when she fired upon an unarmed person without fear or justification.
This conclusion is based upon the following:
An independent witness that observed the entire shooting incident stated that the suspect, Mr. Walker, was sitting upright and had his hands up in the air the entire time, indicating surrender.
The witness stated at no time did Mr. Walker lower his hands until after he was shot.
No weapon or contraband was found in the location where Senior Corporal Wilburn indicated the suspect, Mr. Walker, was hiding his hand.
At no time after the vehicle was located, did officers lose sight of the vehicle nor broadcast that any suspect had exited the vehicle until Officer Terry reported that the driver fled from the vehicle on foot.
Senior Corporal Wilburn did not conduct a felony traffic stop to clear or challenge the vehicle, which contained possibly armed suspects.
Senior Corporal Wilburn rushed the vehicle and did not maintain distance without taking the time a reasonable officer would approaching a vehicle with armed suspects.
Senior Corporal Wilburn approached the vehicle alone after observing Officers Terry and Correa pursue the driver of the suspect vehicle.
After opening the driver’s door of a still moving vehicle, Senior Corporal Wilburn observed Mr. Walker in the passenger seat and immediately drew and fired her weapon.
Senior Corporal Wilburn immediately holstered her weapon and did not stay on target as a reasonable officer would with a potentially armed and dangerous suspect.
Officer Wilburn immediately entered the vehicle without proper cover or with her weapon at the ready under the same circumstances that a reasonable officer in fear of their life would approach an armed suspect.
As she arrived at the passenger door of the suspect, whom she believed to have a weapon, she exposed herself to the possibly armed suspect without her weapon drawn and not in a tactical manner and before the vehicle had been cleared for weapons. A reasonable officer in fear for their safety would not have approached the vehicle in this manner.
Mr. Walker stated that he had his hands in the air when Senior Corporal Wilburn approached the vehicle. He stated he was not resisting and was not reaching for anything.
Senior Corporal Wilburn was terminated for her actions. She was hired in September 2001 and was assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division.
Under civil service rules, all employees have the right to appeal their discipline.
As in all officer involved shooting incidents, this case will be referred to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office for presentation to the Grand Jury.
If former Dallas P.D. employee, Corporal Amy Wilburn is not sent to trial to be judged by a panel of her peers, then no justice will have been attempted in this police assault on another unarmed citizen.
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