Body Camera Footage Shows Officers Mocking Restrained Man Minutes Before His Death

Newly released police body cam­era footage shows the final moments of an unarmed man’s life as he was pinned face-down on the ground by Dallas offi­cers who mocked him when he appeared to fall uncon­scious instead of check­ing his pulse or mak­ing sure he was breath­ing. Tony Timpa, 32, died after his encounter with police on Aug. 10, 2016 ― a death lat­er ruled homi­cide by a Dallas County med­ical exam­in­er. Timpa had called author­i­ties that night from the park­ing lot of an adult video store seek­ing help. He told a dis­patch­er that he had schiz­o­phre­nia and had not tak­en his med­ica­tion. An autop­sy showed Timpa was high on cocaine at the time Body cam­era footage ― obtained by the Dallas Morning News and NBC-DFW after a lengthy legal bat­tle with Dallas police — shows what hap­pened next. The trou­bling footage, part of which was released Wednesday, shows offi­cers arriv­ing at the scene to find Timpa already in hand­cuffs. According to NBC-DFW, Timpa had been restrained by secu­ri­ty guards after he attempt­ed to run into traf­fic. As the offi­cers approached Timpa, who was writhing on the ground, he yelled, “You’re going to kill me! You’re gonna kill me!” An offi­cer pinned Timpa to the ground — his face in the grass and hands cuffed behind his back. NBC-DFW said the man was held in that posi­tion for 14 min­utes. “Will you let me go please?” Timpa is heard plead­ing with the offi­cers.

Timpa even­tu­al­ly becomes unre­spon­sive. As the Morning News notes, the offi­cers noticed Timpa’s sud­den silence, but assumed he was asleep. Officers nei­ther felt for his pulse nor checked whether he was breath­ing. Instead, the offi­cers cracked jokes about wak­ing Timpa up “for school” and about mak­ing him waf­fles and scram­bled eggs for break­fast. “Tony, time for school, wake up!” one offi­cer is heard say­ing. “I don’t want to go to school, mom,” anoth­er offi­cer responds, mim­ic­k­ing the voice of a child. “Five more min­utes, mom.” When para­medics arrived at the scene, they admin­is­tered a seda­tive to Timpa and trans­ferred him to an ambu­lance. “He didn’t just die down there, did he?” one offi­cer says as an appar­ent­ly uncon­scious Timpa is moved. “Hope I didn’t kill him.” Paramedics tell the offi­cers that Timpa is not breath­ing. “He’s dead,” a para­medic says, point­ing to Timpa in the ambu­lance. The county’s med­ical exam­in­er, in rul­ing Timpa’s death a homi­cide, said the man died of sud­den car­diac arrest caused by the effects of cocaine and the stress of phys­i­cal restraint. In 2017, a grand jury indict­ed Sgt. Kevin Mansell and Officers Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard on a mis­de­meanor charge of dead­ly con­duct, say­ing they’d “engaged in reck­less con­duct that placed Timpa in immi­nent dan­ger of seri­ous bod­i­ly injury.” Prosecutors, how­ev­er, dis­missed the charges in March. All three offi­cers have since returned to active duty. A law­suit filed by Timpa’s fam­i­ly against the city of Dallas, claim­ing the offi­cers used exces­sive force, hasn’t been resolved. “He was expect­ing some­one to help him, that’s why he called,” Timpa’s moth­er Vicki Timpa told CBS-DFW last year. “He wasn’t expect­ing sev­er­al police to kill him.” A Dallas police spokesman told The Washington Post on Wednesday that because of “pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion … we are unable to com­ment on the actions of the offi­cers.”