The Temple Police officer who shot 28-year-old Michael Dean on Dec. 2 was named in 2017 in a police brutality lawsuit that was eventually dismissed.
Dean was shot Dec. 2 by Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz, who has been with the department for nine years, according to police spokesman Chris Christoff.
DeCruz was named in a Temple Police brutality lawsuit filed in 2017 in federal court.
The claim was that officers on Jan. 25, 2015, ran over a juvenile with a patrol car during a foot chase after an alleged home invasion.
DeCruz and Officer Bret McCune were not disciplined for any actions related to the incident because the officers’ actions didn’t show any intent, former Temple City Attorney Kayla Landeros told the Telegram in 2017.
Court documents claimed McCune intentionally ran over the juvenile.
However, the case was dismissed Oct. 1, 2018, by the Waco federal court because there was no finding of criminal wrongdoing, attorney Roberto Flores said Tuesday.
Temple Police Department never admitted any liability and didn’t give the family any compensation, Flores said.
Although Flores and the Carlson Law Firm don’t agree with U.S. District Judge Alan Albright’s finding, there is no intent to appeal, Flores said.
DeCruz responded to a home invasion call and saw a male in front of the residence who reportedly ran away with another male when DeCruz told him to stop, the complaint said. DeCruz chased both males, and McCune pursued them in his patrol car into an alley.
The juvenile was pinned face up under the middle of the police car, not underneath the tires. He wasn’t able to move, even though he was being burned, the complaint said.
The trapped juvenile was taken to Scott & White Medical Center-Temple before his transfer to a San Antonio hospital for treatment for burns. He remained hospitalized for a few weeks and still has scars, Flores said.
DeCruz, at that time a three-year department veteran, was injured in 2014 during a vehicle pursuit.
He was on his way to help in the pursuit when his vehicle, while going through an intersection with lights and siren on, hit another vehicle in the intersection. A small fire started in the patrol car but was quickly extinguished.
Officers stopped the pursuit.
DeCruz was hit by a vehicle in 2015 by someone reportedly trying to evade arrest. He had bruising to his lower leg. He and other officers went up to an SUV and tried to stop it. The SUV’s driver made a sharp turn into DeCruz, who couldn’t move out of the way quickly enough.
Dec. 2 shooting
The circumstances surrounding what led up to the Dec. 2 shooting itself have not been released by Temple Police or the Texas Rangers — the lead agency investigating the shooting.
The Texas Rangers have no additional information or comments to add to the Temple Police Department news release, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Bryan Washko said.
Dean was shot and killed during a traffic stop by a Temple Police officer. He wasn’t armed, according to Dean’s family. Temple Police Department and the Texas Rangers haven’t confirmed that.