TEMPLE, Texas – The Dean family and their attorney Lee Merritt walked out of their meeting with Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza with a “great deal of satisfaction.”
“We heard prosecutors’ investigation, and the D.A. himself saying, ‘Justice for Michael Dean’. We haven’t heard him say that until this point,” Merritt said in a press conference.
However, Merritt, who attended the press conference on Monday held by the Temple Police Department, was dissatisfied with how they addressed the killing of Michael Dean.
“This has been a very good officer. He’s been dedicated for nine years to this department. Two and a half hours before this incident occurred, he was a part of the Honor Guard leading the parade in Temple,” said Chief Jim Tobin in the press conference.
“To have an officer murder someone on the side of the road and then say that was a good cop is obsurd. The chief ought to be ashamed of himself so closely after a charging decision,” says Merritt.
Moses Dean, the father of Michael Dean, says though it’s just the beginning of the legal process, he’s thankful for the outcome so far.
“I’m thankful for the community. I’m thankful for my kids to stand up for something right. This is not over with. He’s not finished yet. We have to keep on going and make sure it’s safe for everybody out here in Temple, Texas,” says Dean.
Merritt and the Dean family were hoping for more serious charges. However, they plan to support Henry Garza’s efforts to convict DeCruz of manslaughter. Merritt says knows it won’t be easy.
“Criminal indictments happen in less than one percent of officer-involved shootings. Criminal convictions is even less rare. This D.A.’s Office will have an uphill battle no matter what charge comes out of the grand jury,” he says.
The Dean Family says they want Carmen DeCruz charged as a criminal, but they are also prepared to file a civil lawsuit because of the lack of Temple PD training, policies, and procedures that resulted in Dean’s death.
“We get now that his defense will be, ‘It was an accident,’ but why was that situation created in the first place is an ongoing concern for us,” says Merritt.
Dean’s father says for him, this isn’t just about his son. It’s about a community-wide change he feels needs to happen.
“This has opened up the door. Let’s open it all the way. Let’s get this safe for everybody out here. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what we’re going through,” Moses Dean tells FOX44.