Dallas Police Chief Dave Brown said at a press conference that one of his officers shot and killed James Harper following a chase and what Brown described as “three separate physical fights,” during which Harper allegedly told the officer, Brian Rowden, “You’re gonna have to kill me.” Brown said Harper had an extensive criminal record.
The chase started while police were investigating what Brown said turned out to be a fake kidnapping report at a house in south Dallas, part of a feud between neighborhood gangs. Brown said Harper was one of four people officers chased on foot while trying to escape. He also said no weapon was found on Harper and that no officers were fired upon during the pursuits.
According to The Dallas Observer, many of those who gathered on the street after the shooting were friends and relatives of Harper, joining residents who said they were tired of an increase in police violence.
“Police are always killing people, and it’s always our people getting killed,” said one resident. “Every time you look around one of us is dead.”
Harper’s mother, Sandra Harper, told KXAS she believed police had shot her son in the back. Brown told reporters James Harper was shot in the stomach and head.
Unlike similar protests against police shootings in Anaheim, California, no physical altercations were reported between police and residents.
The Observer reported that Rowden will be on paid leave pending an internal investigation. The shooting will be referred to a grand jury. Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway also called for an investigation into Harper’s death.
“Under the circumstances, emotions are very high out here,” he told KXAS. “And for everyone’s safety, we need to first allow the police to do their job to try to bring peace and calm to this community so that the family can do what they need to do, what they should be able to do, and that’s grieve their loss.”
Watch KXAS-TV’s report on the shooting and the ensuing confrontation, posted July 25, below:
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