Fort Worth Police Shooting: Video emerges in incident that paralyzed unarmed black man

Fort Worth Police Shooting: Video emerges in incident that paralyzed unarmed black man
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In July, police officers looking for robbery suspects approached David Collie, a 33-year-old black man walking from work to a friend's apartment in Fort Worth, Texas. Moments later, as Collie — who was unarmed — walked away from the officers, one of them shot him in the back, hospitalizing the man and leaving him without the use of his legs, the Associated Press reported. 

The Fort Worth officer and Tarrant County sheriff's deputy, who said Collie pointed a box cutter at them, were put on paid administrative leave. Months later, the Fort Worth officer who shot Collie has not been charged and has reportedly returned to duty, according to the AP.

Similar stories about police use of force against African-Americans have played out many times around the country — most only garnering broad attention when video footage of the incident becomes available to the public. That's precisely why Collie's attorney, Nate Washington, decided to release police dashcam footage appearing to show Collie walking away from the officer who shot him. 

Washington told the AP his client did not pose a threat.

Warning: The following video shows images of gun violence.

"I see an attempted murder. I see an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon," Washington said in an interview with CBS News. "I'm not saying that these officers are racist, but that racial bias caused the officer to believe that perhaps he should be afraid of Mr. Collie."

Around the video's 28-second mark, officers come into frame and, after spotting Collie, open fire on him in seconds. Both the officer and sheriff's deputy were off-duty and working a security detail together, CBS News reported. 

Following the shooting, Collie was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant but a grand jury later declined to indict him, the AP reported.

A photo of a hospitalized David Collie is seen in a CBS News broadcast about his police shooting.
Source: 
Mic/CBS News

Despite having only the use of his arms after the shooting, police handcuffed the paralyzed Collie to his hospital bed, Slate reported.

The Fort Worth Police Department did not immediately respond to Mic's request for comment.

During a news conference Tuesday, Washington said he obtained the dashcam video three weeks ago and only decided to release it at Collie's request. He said Collie had grown tired of comments made to his mother by people who assumed he did something wrong.

In a phone interview, Washington told Mic that his law firm sought to highlight existing racial disparities in Fort Worth policing. The city of over 833,300 residents is 61.1% white and 18.9% black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

African-Americans constituted 24.7% of Fort Worth traffic stops in 2015, according to a racial profiling report of the Forth Worth Police Department prepared by the Professional Development Institute at the University of North Texas. Whites comprised 40.94% of those stopped by police.

"I've gotten literally dozens of phone calls from people in the city telling me about what Fort Worth police officers have done to them," Washington said in the phone interview Thursday. 

In case the Washington Firm decides to pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the department, Collie's attorney wants to go through and vet each of those phone calls.

"That's going to take a while," Washington said.

Dec. 29, 2016, 5:20 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.

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Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

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