The family of Michael Dean believes the Temple Police officer who shot and killed him Monday night should be fired, arrested and charged with murder, the attorney representing the family said Friday.
Speaking for the family during a news conference Friday was Lee Merritt, their Dallas-based attorney.
The family wants to know why Dean is dead and why he was shot.
“If my son was in the wrong, so be it,” Christine Dean, Michael’s mother, said Wednesday during a phone interview with the Telegram. “But why is he dead? He didn’t deserve to be shot down. Nobody can give me answers. If he was in the wrong there would a whole story out there, wouldn’t there?”
The officer involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave.
Temple Police response
Temple Interim Police Chief Jim Tobin spoke to the media for about a minute at 6 p.m. Friday with a prepared statement and walked away without answering any questions, including a reporter’s query about the lack of transparency at this point in the investigation.
Tobin said he met Friday with Michael’s parents, Moses and Christine Dean, to provide them with some information.
“Upon completion of the criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers, the department will conduct an internal investigation to determine if the officer’s actions were within policy,” Tobin said.
Tobin talked about preserving the integrity of the investigation and to answer the parents’ concerns, as well as those of the community. He said he made a commitment to provide Dean’s parents with updates promptly as information becomes available, as he will to Temple residents.
The officer-involved shooting still has not been listed on LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which is what Temple Police Department uses to list its reports to inform the public of incidents in the community.
Tobin mentioned how tragic the event was for the Dean family and how traumatic it was for the officer involved.
“We are asking for patience while these investigations are pending,” Tobin said.
As Tobin left the lobby, the door to police department offices firmly closed behind him.
The Dean family and their attorney didn’t attend the police news conference.
Dean was shot and killed during a Monday night traffic stop by a Temple Police officer who has not yet been identified other than as a 9-year veteran. The circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been revealed by the Texas Rangers, who are leading the investigation, or Temple Police.
Dean was shot in the head, Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield said. Duffield didn’t have any preliminary autopsy results by press time Friday.
Christine Dean told the Telegram earlier in the week a Temple Police detective told her that her son wasn’t armed.
Temple Police didn’t release information that someone died in the officer-involved shooting until Tuesday afternoon, and it hasn’t answered any questions since then about the shooting.
Family news conference
Several members of Dean’s family, including two children, were present at the Bell County Justice Complex with Merritt.
His oldest daughter, Te’yanna, turned 6 years old the day he was killed, Merritt said.
Merritt referenced a later meeting Friday with Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza and law enforcement officers.
“They have reached out to arrange a meeting and we are in the process of confirming a date and time,” Garza told the Telegram Friday.
The attorney stressed that Temple Police Department has an obligation to hold itself and its officer accountable for Dean’s “murder.”
The family has “every right to know what happened,” Merritt said. He referred to the content of the body cam and dash-cam videos.
Michael was a “good-hearted person,” Christine Dean said. She said he’d do anything for anyone and gave God credit for everything.
“He’s not a criminal. He wasn’t out there committing crimes,” his mother said. “They’re making it seem like he was a bad person.”
Merritt called for a thorough, accurate investigation. He said bringing in the Texas Rangers proved the officer did something wrong, but it is routine procedure for the Rangers to be called for an officer-involved shooting.