NAACP MARCH

Jerico Taylor, 9, holds a sign following an NAACP march regarding the death of Michael Dean from Temple City Hall to Temple Police Headquarters on Dec. 11.

Michael Dean wasn’t armed when a Temple police officer shot him in the head during a Dec. 2 traffic stop, a report filed with the Texas attorney general shows.

The report, filed Monday with the attorney general’s office, was filled out by Temple police investigator Robert Mallett, who wrote that Dean “did not carry, exhibit or use a deadly weapon.”

The report supports an account by Dean’s mother, Christine Dean, who told the Telegram Dec. 4 a Temple police detective told her Dean did not have a gun during the incident.

Temple Officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, of Killeen, who was identified as the shooter in the incident, remains on paid administrative leave while the Texas Rangers investigate. The deadly shooting has sparked community concerns because little information has been released by the Rangers or the Temple Police Department.

Dean, 28, of Temple, died Dec. 2 near Southeast HK Dodgen Loop and Little River Road after he reportedly was shot in the head by a Temple Police officer during a traffic stop.

The preliminary autopsy report said that Dean died of a gunshot wound to his head. That information was provided to the Telegram by Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield, who ordered the autopsy.

No narrative has been provided about what circumstances led up to Dean’s shooting. No information has been given about whether Dean was shot inside or outside his car, or why DeCruz felt he needed to use lethal force against Dean.

Officer-involved shootings

The Texas Attorney General’s office compiles information on officer-involved shootings across the state. The report details basic information such as the location of the incident and the age and race of both the victim and the officer.

The report said the shooting incident occurred in the 3200 block of Little River Road. The incident resulted from a traffic stop, according to the report.

The report details the age and race of both the victim and officer. Dean is listed as a 28-year-old black man. DeCruz is listed as a 52-year-old Hispanic or Latino peace officer who was on duty at the time of the shooting.

Temple Police spokesman Cody Weems sent a statement Tuesday evening.

“The form filed by Temple PD with the AG’s office is required within 30 days of the reported incident,” Weems said. “At this time, the department has only limited information from sources that do not have first-hand knowledge of the facts and that limited information was used to complete this form. This case is still under investigation by the Texas Rangers, and the form may be revised by the department at a later date as more facts become available.”

Dallas attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Dean’s family, previously said the silence from authorities is “completely unfair and particularly cruel” to Dean’s family. He described the killing as a murder.

“I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen a case where there was absolutely no narrative, even if it was one that was later proved wrong,” he said.

Questions about the shooting prompted community members to hold a march from Temple City Hall to the Temple Police Department.

Community concerns

Concerns were also raised when it was revealed that Temple Police cleaned part of Dean’s car before it was returned to the family — despite a request from the family and their attorney that it not be cleaned so it could be forensically examined by a private investigator.

Last week, Interim Police Chief Jim Tobin answered Telegram questions about items including Dean’s car.

Dean’s car wasn’t considered evidence anymore in the investigation, Tobin said.

“Upon completion of their processing of the vehicle, the Rangers released the vehicle to TPD on Dec. 5 to return it to the Dean family,” Tobin said in a written response to Telegram questions. “Once the Rangers released it to TPD, the vehicle was considered personal property to be returned to the family, not evidence. Had the Rangers needed to retain the vehicle for evidentiary purposes, they would not have released it for return to the family.”

Before officers talked to Christine Dean, the decision was made Dec. 5 to clean up blood left on the front passenger seat, Tobin said.

Weems previously said no one issued the order to clean it. Weems confirmed Dec. 16 the family had asked for the car to be returned without cleaning it.

Tobin said he accepted responsibility for giving the approval to clean it. He also said the deputy chief of the Criminal Investigation Division and a supervisor of a Temple Police investigator knew about, approved and instructed the car’s cleaning — before anyone talked with Christine Dean.

“We felt that returning the vehicle with blood on the front passenger’s seat would be insensitive,” Tobin said.

ATTORNEY GENERAL REPORT

To read the attorney general’s office report, visit https://sforce.co/2SGUrJV.