Flashback: Man Died on Video in 2016 After Dallas Police Pinned Him to Ground, Yet There Were No Riots…
A report last year from the Dallas Morning News highlighted how Tony Timpa screamed and begged for help more than 30 times as Dallas law enforcement “pinned his shoulders, knees and neck to the ground.”
Timpa bellowed, “You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!”
After Timpa lost conscious, the officers who handcuffed him thought he was asleep and didn’t bother to find out if he was breathing or had a pulse.
As Timpa slowly died, the officers were laughing and joking about waking Timpa up for school and making him waffles for breakfast.
According to body camera footage that The Dallas Morning News obtained, the police officers waited at least four minutes after Timpa stopped breathing to start implementing CPR. The Dallas Morning News noted that “His nose was buried in the grass while officers claimed to hear him snoring — apparently unaware that the unarmed man was drawing his last breaths.”
The News added, “The officers pinned his handcuffed arms behind his back for nearly 14 minutes and zip-tied his legs together. By the time he was loaded onto a gurney and put into an ambulance, the 32-year-old was dead.”
The Dallas newspaper was able to obtain the Dallas Police Department body camera footage after a three-year campaign to get records connected to Timpa’s death.
On July 29, 2019, a federal judge ruled in favor of a motion by The News and NBC5 to put out records from his death, declaring that “the public has a compelling interest in understanding what truly took place during a fatal exchange between a citizen and law enforcement.”
Timpa originally called the police on August 10, 2016, from the parking lot of a Dallas porn store. He said he was afraid and was in need of assistance. He informed a dispatcher that he was afflicted by schizophrenia and depression and was no longer on his prescription medication. The News first reported Timpa’s death in a 2017 investigation that depicted Dallas police’s refusal to explain how a man who had called 911 for help ended up dead.
Timpa’s family filed a lawsuit in federal court to obtain the records of this incident and they alleged excessive force, which contradicted key assertions Dallas police have made in defending the first responders’ actions.
According to the police report, Timpa’s behavior on the night of his death was “aggressive and combative.” The video depicts Timpa wincing in pain and fighting to breathe, begging the officers to stop pinning on the ground.
In a custodial death report that the police department submitted to the state in 2016, the department replied “no” to questions about whether Timpa was resisting arrest, threatening or fighting officers.
The Dallas Morning News offered a summary of what took place on the night Timpa died:
Police had previously claimed to use only enough force necessary to block Timpa from rolling into a busy section of Mockingbird Lane. In the first minute, Timpa rolls around near the curb. But the video shows a police car clearly blocks traffic about a minute later near the bus bench where the officers had pinned him. Several officers continue pressing his restrained body into the ground.
Timpa had already been handcuffed by a private security guard before police came on the scene. He never threatened to hurt or kill the police in this incident
Timpa died within 20 minutes of the police’s arrival, and at least 15 minutes prior to an ambulance transported his body to Parkland hospital.
According to an autopsy, Timpa’s cause of death was rule a “homicide, sudden cardiac death” due to “the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint.”
Despite the news emerging from this case, no one rioted in Dallas, nor tried to use this incident to pursue a racial agenda.
There are important questions to ask about policing in America, but they should be done through the political process and in a peaceful manner.
Such impulsive actions of lawlessness do the victims of government abuse no justice.