Officer could face criminal charges for 41 shots - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Officer could face criminal charges for 41 shots

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MESQUITE, Texas -

Police are investigating an officer that unloaded nearly three clips on a man following a chase that ended in a Mesquite cul-de-sac.

On Tuesday the Mesquite Police Department announced that Garland Officer Patrick Tuter chased Michael Allen into a Mesquite neighborhood with no way out. And when Allen turned his truck around, Tuter rammed it to prevent his escape.

Source close to the investigation said the officer initially opened fire on Allen while still in his squad car.

When the vehicles disengaged and Allen's pickup kept moving, the sources said Tuter got out of his squad car, reloaded and continued firing. He reloaded again and shot a total of 41 rounds at Allen.

"Obviously if you continue to fire 41 shots and have to reload twice, he was obviously still perceiving that threat," said Pete Schulte, a former police officer and prosecutor who is now a defense attorney not connected to the case.

Allen was hit twice. The female passenger in his truck amazingly was not hit by any of the bullets.

"There's a lot of things we're not gonna know yet. What was the officer viewing, perceiving at the time that deadly force was used?" Schulte said. "Now the question's gonna be what did other witnesses see? What did the witness inside the vehicle see and that sort of thing?"

Mesquite police are carrying out the criminal investigation. They got a court order to take an SD card from a man who witnessed the shooting and recorded a 30 second video on his cellphone.

"It's really gonna come down to at the time the force was used what was known of the officer at that time," Schulte said.

But Attorney Geoff Henley who has a separate excessive force case pending against the Garland Police Department said he thinks there is no justification for 41 shots by one officer.

"The only thing I can possibly imagine is if that officer had some other verifiable proof that some other person was in severe jeopardy of his own life. But apparently that's not the case because the Mesquite police who were lined up there didn't fire one shot," Henley said.

Officer Tuter has been with the Garland Police Department for seven years. He has several commendations and certificates of merit. He even received a merit bar.

He was only suspended once in 2007. He was given five days off for breaking two ribs of an inmate who officers were trying to get control of.

He will remain on restricted desk duty with no gun and no credentials until his case goes before a grand jury and a decision is made as to whether he should face any charges.

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