Kunkle to release video of officer fatally shooting man

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by By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 12:37 PM

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said that next week he plans to release the dash-cam video of an officer fatally shooting an unarmed man who the officer said was attacking him last week.

The move follows criticism from civil-rights leaders who question whether Officer Rene Villanueva was justified in using deadly force against Derrick Jones, 31, who investigators say was exhibiting signs of being high on PCP.

"The video does do a very good job showing what happened, and people can review it and draw their own conclusions," Chief Kunkle said.

Officer Villanueva, 31, told police he saw a blue Mercedes rear-end another vehicle in the 4500 block of South Lancaster Road before fleeing the scene. The Mercedes drove three blocks, and two men jumped out of the car while it was moving, police said. The car then jumped a curb and stopped.

Mr. Jones and the officer got out of their vehicles, and Officer Villanueva tried to arrest Mr. Jones, who was 6 feet 3 inches tall and 240 pounds, police said. The two struggled, and Mr. Jones began punching the officer, who feared he was about to lose consciousness and shot Mr. Jones once in the chest, police said.

Local activists, including the Rev. Ronald Wright and the Rev. Peter Johnson, were informed of the plan to release the video in an afternoon meeting with Chief Kunkle and several other members of the police command staff. The pastors said they had spoken to at least four witnesses whose accounts contradict what police have said happened.

"We're going to make sure that our witnesses get to give a statement to the district attorney's office so they can be a part of the process," Mr. Wright said.

The case will be referred to a grand jury, which will make a final decision on whether criminal charges should be filed against the officer.

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