WARNING: Video contains material that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.
(CNN) – Two Dallas police officers; arriving for what they expect will be a routine disturbance call. Other officers had been to this home dozens of times before.
This time would be different, and it’s all about to be captured on the officer’s body camera.
Shirley Harrison answers the door; she’d called police about her son Jason. He’s bipolar, schizophrenic, and off his medication. She’s trying to get him to the hospital.
As Shirley walks out, police notice a screwdriver in her son Jason’s hand. What happens next is hard to watch:
Within ten seconds of the front door being opened, Jason Harrison lay dying in his own driveway, shot at least five times; twice in the back, by Officer John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins, who is wearing the body camera.
His family says Jason hadn’t committed any crime, nor did he likely understand why officers were even there.
REPORTER: “What do you think police could’ve done differently that day?”
Sean Harrison, Victim’s Brother: “They should not have been yelling orders off the top, he’s mentally confused, and then you stick a gun at him and yell at him.”
When Shirley Harrison had called 911 for help, she says she told them her son was mentally ill and needed to get to a hospital.
“They didn’t take him to Parkland, they took him to the morgue.”
So why did officers open fire? Dallas police wouldn’t talk to us, but the attorney for the officers did:
REPORTER: “Was there any other option other than deadly force in this case?”
Chris Livingston, Attorney for Accused Officers: “No there’s not, this is a deadly force encounter, you respond to lethal force with lethal force, a taser is a less lethal item.”
Soon after the shooting, the officers signed affidavits about what happened. They both say Jason Harrison lunged, but here’s the thing: Officer Hutchins says he lunged at Officer Rogers first with his screwdriver raised, and Officer Rogers says he lunged at Officer Hutchins first. Both officers agreed though that the screwdriver could’ve been used as a deadly puncture weapon.
With Jason bleeding out in the driveway, backup arrives. Listen as Officer Hutchins tries to explain to the others why they fired: “He was in the doorway, he had a screwdriver. We had this behind us, we had to shoot. He came at us.”
The Harrisons’ family attorney says if Jason had really lunged at the officer, you would’ve seen his whole body fill the screen of the body camera. “He didn’t lunge, he didn’t stab, he didn’t jab, there was no thrust; there was no Zorro move.”
And what about after the shooting? The officers continued to yell at him to drop his weapon as he lay motionless.
After several minutes, Officer Rogers gets close enough to remove the screwdriver from the victim’s hand, and then puts his hands behind his back.
Jason Harrison’s mother had specifically requested officers who were trained to deal with the mentally ill answer this call. The attorney for these officers tell us they do have that training.
About five and a half minutes after the shooting the ambulance arrives, but it was too late. Just 38, Jason Harrison was already dead.
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