“You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!”
After Timpa fell unconscious, the officers who had him in handcuffs assumed he was asleep and didn’t confirm that he was breathing or feel for a pulse.
As precious minutes passed, the officers laughed and joked about waking Timpa up for school and making him waffles for breakfast.
Body camera footage obtained Tuesday by The Dallas Morning News shows first responders waited at least four minutes after Timpa became unresponsive to begin CPR. His nose was buried in the grass while officers claimed to hear him snoring — apparently unaware that the unarmed man was drawing his last breaths.
The officers pinned his handcuffed arms behind his back for nearly 14 minutes and zip-tied his legs together. By the time he was loaded onto a gurney and put into an ambulance, the 32-year-old was dead.
The News obtained Dallas Police Department body camera footage after a three-year fight for records related to Timpa’s death. A federal judge ruled Monday in favor of a motion by The News and NBC5 to release records from his death, saying “the public has a compelling interest in understanding what truly took place during a fatal exchange between a citizen and law enforcement.”
Timpa called 911 on Aug. 10, 2016, from the parking lot of a Dallas porn store, saying he was afraid and needed help. He told a dispatcher he suffered from schizophrenia and depression and was off his prescription medication. The News first reported Timpa’s death in a 2017 investigation that showed Dallas police refused to say how a man who had called 911 for help ended up dead.
The newly obtained video and records, part of a lawsuit filed by Timpa’s family in federal court alleging excessive force, contradict key claims Dallas police have made in defending the officers’ actions.
Police incident reports recounting the officers’ version of events claim Timpa’s behavior that night was aggressive and combative. The video shows Timpa writhing at times and clearly struggling to breathe, asking the officers to stop pinning him down.
On a custodial death report submitted to the state in 2016, the department answered “no” to questions about whether Timpa resisted arrest, threatened or fought officers.
Police had previously claimed to use only enough force necessary to block Timpa from rolling into a busy section of Mockingbird Lane. In the first minute, Timpa rolls around near the curb. But the video shows a police car clearly blocks traffic about a minute later near the bus bench where the officers had pinned him. Several officers continue pressing his restrained body into the ground.
The footage also shows the officers mocking Timpa as he struggled to live. Shortly after one officer ridicules Timpa’s repeated cries for help, an officer notes that he appears to be “out cold.”
They joke that he’s merely asleep and try to wake him: “It’s time for school. Wake up!”
One officer mimics a teen saying: “I don’t want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!”
They joke about buying him new shoes for the first day of school and making him a special breakfast, laughing loudly.
It’s unclear from the video why Dallas Fire-Rescue medical responders don’t intervene immediately after Timpa loses consciousness.
“I was unable to assess the patient due to his combativeness,” said one of the first responders in a newly obtained affidavit.
However, the medical responders appear to take Timpa’s blood pressure while he is still conscious, about five minutes before administering Versed, a powerful sedative. By the time the paramedic gives Timpa the sedative, officers already are questioning if Timpa is awake.
A Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman declined to comment on the paramedics’ actions, citing the family’s pending lawsuit in federal court. The Dallas Police Department also declined to comment.
Timpa died within 20 minutes of police arriving, and at least 15 minutes before an ambulance eventually transported his body to Parkland hospital.
As the officers and paramedics struggle to load Timpa’s lifeless body onto the gurney, they begin to panic, seeing his glassy, open eyes and blades of grass stuck to his mouth.
One of the officers asks: “He didn’t just die down there, did he?”
An autopsy ruled Timpa’s cause of death was a homicide, sudden cardiac death due to “the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint.”
The city of Dallas and Dallas County officials had fought since September 2016 to prevent public release of the records, arguing it could interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. Officials then said the records could not be released because a criminal case against three of the police officers never made it to trial.
Those three officers — Kevin Mansell, Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard — were indicted by a grand jury in 2017 on charges of misdemeanor deadly conduct, three months after The News published its investigation into Timpa’s death. Following two days of testimony, the grand jury’s indictment stated that the “officers engaged in reckless conduct that placed Timpa in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”
But in March, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot dismissed the charges.
Creuzot previously told The News that he met with “all three medical examiners” who had testified to the grand jury. They reportedly told him they did not believe the officers acted recklessly and “cannot, and will not, testify to the elements of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.”