US & Canada

Texas police officer charged for shooting black man

A US police car in Dallas, Texas Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The shooting took place in Arlington, Texas between Fort Worth and Dallas

A Texas police officer has been charged with homicide after shooting a black man during a traffic stop last year.

The officer, Bau Tran, fired several shots into the car after O'Shae Terry, 24, tried to drive away while Mr Tran was speaking to him.

Mr Terry later died in hospital. On Wednesday, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted the officer on charges of criminally negligent homicide.

Arlington Police Department said he had now been placed on leave.

Mr Tran had initially been placed on restricted duties after the shooting.

Lee Merritt - a lawyer for Terry's family - told the Associated Press news agency that while the charge was "a huge relief" for his relatives, "if anyone else had done this it would have been murder".

Body camera footage released by Arlington Police Department shows two officers pulling Terry over in his car in September 2018 because the registration for his vehicle had expired.

After speaking for several minutes the passenger side window starts to roll up. Officer Tran grabs the window and stands on the side of the car while it pulls away, and then fires into the vehicle.

Mr Tran's lawyer, Randy Moore, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in October that the officers smelled marijuana in the car and were concerned for the public's safety, adding that Terry had been shot "because the officer felt his life was in danger".

Mr Merritt admitted Terry "made several mistakes", including having marijuana in the car, driving with an expired registration and trying to drive off after being stopped. "None of those mistakes should have been fatal," he said.

Those convicted on the charge of criminally negligent homicide can receive a sentence of between 180 days and two years in jail.

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