A handcuffed man breaks free, fires a handgun and escapes out of the back of a police car. It's dramatic video that's frightening to any police officer.
It happened in the Highland Park suburb of Dallas.
On June 4th of last year, Highland Park police took down a man riding a motorcycle they said was reported as stolen.
A driver gets video of the officers searching the suspect. He's identified as 32-year-old David Hartman.
The dash camera video picks back up with an officer loading Hartman into a police SUV. He pats him down on the right side. He then takes a quick swipe along his left side.
Austin Police Association President Wayne Vincent immediately spots the mistake.
"The officer was going to look in that direction, but chose not to so he did escalate anything. That could've gotten somebody killed," Vincent said.
It nearly did. Hartman slips his handcuffs under his feet, he then reaches into his pants and brings out a small caliber handgun. He slides across the seat, shoots out the window, kicks out the glass and runs.
Hartman died from his injuries.
Vincent fears a similar scenario might happen in Austin.
"There's a difference between a pat down and a search. If we're patting down, just to make sure you don't have weapons it's an outside search for hard objects or objects that might hurt us. A search is what happens when you make the arrest. When the handcuffs go on you search before you put them in the car," said Vincent.
"Too many times, it happens here in Austin, our officers are in a hurry to put the person behind in the back seat, not hurt them, not fight w them anymore, because we get in trouble for using excessive force and sometimes those searches aren't conducted," Vincent said.
Vincent says he's made mistakes.
"I have missed a pocket knife. I have missed things that could've hurt me if the person had wanted to try and do that," he said. "Sometimes you go home and you think about how stupid you were but that just makes you better."
He says every officer can learn from this video.
"It's just another stark reminder that we as police officers cannot let our guard down no matter who we think we're talking to and who we're dealing with," said Vincent.
KDFW FOX 4
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