New Documents And Testimony Shows Officers Lied About Their Role In An Arrested Teen's Death

from the real-criminal-conspirators-are-the-ones-with-badges dept

Earlier this year, we covered the horrific story of the death of a 5’4″ 110-lb. 18-year-old at the hands of the Mesquite (TX) police department. The teen, suffering from a bad acid trip, was tased multiple times, threatened with death by an officer, and left to die in a jail cell with little more than a cursory nod towards his health and wellbeing.

Graham Dyer’s parents were unable to obtain any details about their son’s death from the Mesquite PD. The department refused to turn over records, pointing to state law allowing it to withhold records on arrested suspects who never faced criminal charges. This exemption may have made sense to lawmakers at the point it was passed. But in-custody deaths are inherently questionable. This exemption does little more than give law enforcement agencies everything they need to cover up misconduct.

Fortunately, Dyer’s parents didn’t stop there. They asked the FBI to open an investigation into their son’s death. The FBI closed its investigation without forwarding it to the DOJ for charges but the investigation did serve at least one purpose: it allowed Dyer’s parents to finally obtain records related to their son’s last night on earth.

What they found was horrifying. Video showed their son thrashing around in the back of a police car, incoherent and completely unrestrained. Captured audio captured an officer threatening to kill their son if he didn’t calm down. The in-car video also showed the same officer repeatedly tasing their son in the testicles. (The officer claims he was aiming for the “inner thigh” but Dyer kept moving. Considering a taser is effective almost anywhere it’s placed, why place it so close to a person’s testicles unless you’re hoping to “accidentally” tase that part of the arrestee?) They also saw their son dragged from the police car at the jail sally port, laying on the floor with an officer’s foot on his head.

Without these records from the FBI, the Dyers would never have known what led to their son’s death. The Mesquite PD’s refusal to turn over records also served its own purpose: it ran the clock on the statute of limitations. The state can no longer bring criminal charges against the officers — despite the DA saying there’s evidence of criminal behavior.

But that can’t prevent the officers from being sued. The Dyers have taken the Mesquite PD to court and now, at long last, the PD is being forced to hand over the documents it refused to give to the teen’s parents. What’s in these documents — and the officers’ testimony — only adds to the portrait of these officers’ depraved indifference.

To begin with, the officers who arrested Dyer showed almost zero concern for his wellbeing. Not once did they consider bringing the teen to a nearby hospital. Nor was any sort of health check given when Dyer was turned over to the local jail. But the arresting officers had every reason to believe Dyer might be seriously injured.

While being loaded into a cruiser, Dyer banged his head several times against the car. During the first mile on the drive to the city jail, he slammed his head 19 times against the side door, back seat or metal cage separating the car’s front and back.

Halfway to the jail, in what they have described as an attempt to calm him down, the officers pulled to the side of the road. One used his Taser, shocking Dyer in his testicles.

Some police departments call for a medical evaluation after Taser use. Instead of diverting to the emergency room a half-mile away, however, the officers resumed driving. No additional restraints were applied, and during the second half of the trip Dyer hit his head against the car’s interior 27 more times.

At the jail, officers unloaded the handcuffed and leg-tied Dyer onto the sally-port floor outside the jail. There, they watched him bang his head again on the concrete pad.

According to their own testimony, none of the officers informed jail staff about possible head trauma suffered by Dyer. Nor did anyone ask for medical care until after Dyer had been laying motionless in a jail cell for two hours.

On top of that, the officers’ stories — backed by apparently falsified reports — are falling apart.

The Dyers have noted that, at the least, the depositions given by the five police officers who responded to the middle school on Aug. 13, 2013, have challenged the official version of Graham’s arrest that police initially presented to them.

In their pleadings, police described Graham and his friends as belligerent and combative. But in individual depositions, the officers conceded the teens were mostly cooperative. Graham, for example, was kept on the ground for more than 10 minutes with modest effort, they said.


In their original incident report, the Mesquite officers had written: “Dyer could not calm down and walk to the patrol unit, therefore officers had to carry Dyer to the patrol unit.” Yet the video depicts him walking to the cruiser.

At the jail, the police report again described Graham as combative: “It took multiple officers and detention officers to remove Dyer from the back seat of the patrol unit, escort him inside the jail, and placed him in a restraint chair and padded cell for his safety.” The video, however, shows him lying mostly motionless on the ground.

It’s a compound lie. Dyer was never placed in a restraint chair. He laid on the concrete floor until officers booked him and left him in a cell to finish dying.

Even though the statute of limitations prevents the DA from bringing charges against the officers, it doesn’t prevent the Mesquite PD from handing out its own discipline. But it has done nothing. All officers involved in Dyer’s death remain employed.

Fortunately, the FBI’s investigation has given the Dyers the documentation they need to pursue legal action against the Mesquite PD. But that may be the only good to have come out of this. A bill brought by a state rep to close the exemption the Mesquite PD used to wait out the statute of limitations died on the House floor. And in the end, it won’t be the involved officers paying for the teen’s death, it will be the state’s taxpayers.

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Comments on “New Documents And Testimony Shows Officers Lied About Their Role In An Arrested Teen's Death”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's not "authoritarian" to forbid you to harm self with drugs.

Besides, according to what’s here: “thrashing around in the back of a police car, incoherent and completely unrestrained”, the police were NOT applying “authoritarian” restraints, and in fact, don’t seem to have harmed this person, was all self-inflicted.

This ginned-up weeping implies that idiots can impose costs on society without concern or limits. — Actually, you snowflakes believe that police and rest of society MUST act to protect you, even while you rage against that very protection! — Phooey on that. It’s cheaper and better for society to let idiots kill themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It's not "authoritarian" to forbid you to harm self with drugs.

“This ginned-up weeping implies that idiots can impose costs on society without concern or limits.”

If that is your take-away from this story then perhaps you are in the wrong country. I’m guessing that similar circumstances where you are the victim would have you whining about completely different issues – amirite?

In addition, if you are upset about how your tax dollars are spent – then aren’t you complaining to the wrong people?

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re: It's not "authoritarian" to forbid you to harm self with drugs.

"This ginned-up weeping implies that idiots can impose costs on society without concern or limits."

Like the idiots that initiated this "forbid to harm self" law in the first place whose costs of their war on drugs they imposed on society?

Truly, if there ever was a more cynical plot to raise drugs profits, it couldn’t be better than this prohibition with the excuse of "helping the poor addicts".

lorne says:

Re: Re: Supervision

(“…. cops that don’t have reasonable oversight”)

….yeah, we seem to run into this type of problem a lot in government — government employees doing their own thing and harming the public that they are supposed to be protecting.
the existing “supervision” doesn’t work — why do you think that is ?

some people think the FCC is going rogue now… and the FBI itself has a long history of corruption

obviously we need a new Federal super police force agency to make all American law enforcement & regulatory personnel obey the law and do right by the public. If only Saint Eliot Ness was still around

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

First degree murder.
cop with his foot on a childs head. Taking bets he stamped down a few times and his buddies took photos whilst he gave a thumbs up.

They KNEW 100% he was dying, and because their fucking donut break was more important than the life of a child they left him to die alone.

And even now they won’t admit to a damn thing, but they’ll “weep” on the stand when the parents win their civil suit and claim to be “repented with jesus” and all the other bullshit these type of monsters spout.

The punishment for these cops should be exactly what they did to this kid, including the same amount of testicle tasering and smashing their heads off solid surfaces.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

These are typical PIGS in action. It’s also about that dumb BLUE LINE. One PIGS abuses a person, and the rest stand around and watch it happen. Sometimes joining in. None of them will stop it, or do the right thing. Which just makes them ALL BAD and corrupt and the PIGS that they are.

They are also ALL liars. They will say anything to you to get what they want. Maybe it’s watching so much youtube, but I keep seeing it over and over again all over.

carlb (profile) says:

Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

There’s a legal adage north of the border that “time does not run out on the Crown”. The statute of limitations is two years for most civil matters and ten years for income taxes, but for crime? Canada doesn’t run out the clock. Why doesn’t the US follow their lead?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

In the US, the statute of limitations generally stems from the right to a speedy trial in the bill of rights. It should be noted that it requires that the suspect be easily “find-able” during the bulk of the period. If the suspect runs/hides and/or leaves the state in which the crime occurred for any significant amount of time, then the statute is reset. It also starts from the time at which the crime was discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered), rather than necessarily when it occurred.

However, as we saw in this case, there is apparently a loophole in the laws as written. That is, if law enforcement themselves is hiding the evidence from the prosecutor’s office then the crime has been discovered (law enforcement knows about it), but an indictment can’t be brought because the prosecutor doesn’t have the evidence. This allows the statute of limitations to run out freely.

It’s more an example of how systematically deferential to law enforcement our criminal legal system is than an issue with the statute of limitations. Ultimately, getting rid of the limitations won’t solve much (outside of fringe cases like this) as long as our legal system continues to pander to law enforcement.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

The thing is though, Texas has no statute of limitations for manslaughter, which is the crime that best fits the facts of the incident.

The only reason why the statute of limitations even could run out is if the prosecutor has decided to ‘defer’ to the police and under-charge the officers with a lesser crime that they did not actually commit.

For the statute of limitations to have run out on the charges the prosecutor wanted to bring, in the 4 years since Graham died, then the charges must be very minor indeed.

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

In addition to the things pointed out by other commenters, the statute of limitations was implemented in American law to avoid allowing the government to selectively choose not to prosecute someone for a crime until it was profitable to do so. For example, back when the original 13 states were colonies of your Crown, occasionally the Crown would choose not to prosecute certain crimes until an individual decided to try and assert their rights in a way that made the government look bad then, all of a sudden, a prosecution would pop up out of nowhere. We wanted to avoid that possibility but, clearly, there are issues with that.

Also, as stated below, most forms of homicide/manslaughter have no statute of limitations in most states so I have no idea what this DA is saying.

Agammamon says:

Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

Because the US’ legal tradition descends from common law while Canada’s comes from Civil Code.

Two very different legal traditions.

In common law, the idea is that people change over time and that someone who has show that they can live as a law-abiding citizen for multiple years deserves some leniency. Different crimes have different lengths before they are non-prosecutable and some crimes have an indefinite length still.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

It does. innocent people can be hounded and persecuted for decades by cops (usually if you’re black and/or poor).

But politicians and cops are above the law in the US.
They can openly shoot people in the back, rape women and children in cells or their police vehicles and get full official government and police protection.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Why would there be a statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes?

Canada doesn’t run out the clock [impose limitation on crimes]. Why doesn’t the US follow their lead?

Because it would be unfair to require someone to defend after their evidence has grown stale, their memories have faded, their witnesses moved out of town, and the records are lost.

Quick, tell me where you were on 14-Aug-1987. Oh, maybe now we know who killed []. Turn yourself in at the Sheriff’s department, they’ll get you booked in at Camp Swampy, and you can have a fair trial.

And, generally, please do not give our legislature ideas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Instead of blaming IDIOT for using illegal drugs, Techdirt blames police.

The police didn’t start this. After a point, the police are not responsible for protecting idiots from themselves. I certainly don’t blame them. It’s exhausting to try and stop idiots. We’re rid of one now, to the good.

This is another new low for Techdirt in its slide to barbarism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Instead of blaming IDIOT for using illegal drugs, Techdirt blames police.

Sadly thats EXACTLY how it works.

the police in every single US state DO NOT protect citizens.

they are there to enrich themselves with civil forfeiture (i.e. taking cash from people, keeping their share and passing the remainder to their police chief kingpin).

They protect the rich, shoot the poor and/or black people at a whim and face no oversight or punishment whatsoever.

Occasionally an officer in a “show of theatre” will be put on PAID leave whilst the other officers snigger behind your back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The statute of limitations starts from the time a crime was discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered). From that point, it will run out in the given amount of time provided that the suspect is “catchable.” This requires that the suspect be living in the open, visible to authorities (e.g. gainfully employed, or otherwise having address/contact information easily obtainable), and does not leave the state. Should any of these be violated, the statute is temporarily suspended until they are in compliance again.

In other words, the statute of limitations runs out unless the police cannot find the suspect to bring him to trial, or the suspect flees the state in which the crime occurred. Neither of which happened in this case.

Daydream says:

I remember this story.

Last time I read about Graham Dyer here, I commented on how it was scary that you could be kidnapped and murdered through no fault of your own, by the people who are supposedly being paid to keep you safe.

What I didn’t comment was that I listened to the audio; to me, it didn’t sound like a guy on an acid trip, it sounded like a normal teen panicking and having a breakdown over being attacked and kidnapped. At his age, I would probably have done the same thing.

I think it’s time we acknowledged something important; in an ideal world, these police officers would be recognised as negligent (if not active) murderers. They would be arrested, tried, and sent to a proper prison, hopefully being rehabilitated a few years down the line. None of this department hiding evidence and lying testimony stuff, either.

But what we have instead, is cops feeling entitled to abuse innocents and leave them to die, for being druggies or niggers or terrorists or whatever it is. They’re protected by corrupt departments that let them lie, hide or even destroy evidence, and look smug behind all kinds of technicalities in laws.

Even when cases like these are brought to court, the officers involved aren’t held responsible for their actions. The costs of paying off the victims are shoved onto innocent cities instead, who have to take out loans and bonds to pay off those settlements, then use tax money to pay off the interest on those. Every ‘win’ in court only serves to punish the surrounding community for having one of their own dare to seek restitution, and the police who committed the crime get away to commit it again.

The thing we have to acknowledge is, it may not seem like it at first glance, but this state of affairs puts those same, crooked, law-breaking police in danger. By eroding legal avenues to hold them responsible for their crimes, shoving away all of their liability onto innocent taxpayers, these crooked cops are slowly whittling away at any possibility of ‘justice’ and ‘safety of the community’ that doesn’t involve killing them all.

Some day, and I’m honestly astonished that there hasn’t been any report on it here yet, someone’s going to want revenge for someone they know being murdered by police officers, or someone is going to be afraid that they’re going to be targeted. They are going to set up an ambush, or make an improvised bomb, or they are just going to break into an officer’s house with a gun, and they will kill these offending police, because they will have zero faith in the possibility of bringing them to justice by legal means.

The only way to save the lives of these officers now, is to send them to prison. A real, functioning prison designed to make them become better people, mind, since a profit-driven private prison will accomplish nothing except petty revenge.

Remember that, next time you see a story like this one; every time the cops get away without consequences for robbery, or assault, or murder (or a depraved-heart murder, like this one), they get further entrenched into a situation where the only way to stop them, is to kill them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I remember this story.

This actually happens fairly often; specific cops getting shot up because they got involved with the wrong criminals (sometimes those criminals are other cops) or being negligent andor going after the wrong people.

My perspective is, it isn’t wrong to give cops the benefit of the doubt most of the time. They are human beings, like the rest of us, they make mistakes and furthermore, they get it in all 3 holes; from the judicial, legislative, and their bosses in the executive, with the public standing there ready to fill any hole that happens to open up. No procedure can make you safe in all the grey areas, you have to give them a certain amount of faith. You also can’t expect them to act like Meat Popsicle’s because someone’s little angel is freaking out on god only knows what today. If you want to exact justice on your own terms, the people dead last on your list should be cops; you need them to pick up the pieces of whatever is left over.

With all of that said, the war on drugs and the corporat-ization of our prison system has militarized our police force into what is essentially an occupation force, and the actions of these cops clearly represent the deployment of torture (point blank tasering of the balls) as a means of gaining compliance out of someone. The problem is they did that in peacetime, to a member of the public they are sworn to protect, to someone who is probably on drugs and having a bad reaction, who is, while clearly un-cooperative, is also clearly subdued and caged.

The police need to be reminded of their duty from time to time, and a suspension until prosecution is completed and they are found guilty or innocent are needed in this case. The video doesn’t tell the entire story but it does tell enough that the police earned their hot water on this one. Even if they are found innocent, they should apologize to the family and should be put on desk job duty for a good long time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I remember this story.

This problems comes from cowards that think the police are here to protect and serve citizens.

The police protect and serve the law not citizens and they never will. You cannot serve two masters because it is a conflict of interest.

History is full of examples. If someone has authority over you and the responsibility of protecting you… well then… you are a slave.

Graham Dyer knows the truth now… and his parents are finding that the world does not actually give one shit about their disposition. Everyone here is going to keep voting in the same “tough on crime” scum that keep these jerks employed. Not only that people are still going to beg for protection from the police and hold them responsible for everything that goes wrong.

We are placing too much on them and the natural conclusion for the “protectors” is to take total control of the protected to better “protect” them.

Citizens need to be responsible for protecting themselves and each other, the Police need to focus on going after people causing a problem instead of acting like people protectors. It just adds to their stress and creates a recipe for social disorder.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I remember this story.

It’s reached such a horrific situation that there are actual death camps INSIDE Detroit.

Google for HOMAN SQUARE.

There the Chicago police “disappeared” 7000 (yes SEVEN THOUSAND) people, who were beaten, raped and tortured before being either released without charged or murdered in custody.

None of those people was allowed a lawyer, any form of legal representation or even to have their familes told where they were kidnapped to FOR YEARS AT A TIME

You see this and tell me the USA isn’t a police state with extra-judicial punishment for “undesireables”

SamSC says:

Stop the insanity

There has been a shift in this country and it is dark and evil and resides in our cities and towns. We have turned into a police state we have provided them with military weapons and given them immunity from oversight. People are no longer to be served and protected now there are to be terrorized and disrespected. Now to all the good people in law enforcement please take back your pride and decency do not sink to their level because no matter how well they cover it up it is evil.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stop the insanity

“…all the good people in law enforcement…”

Not really enough of those to matter. You want to try appealing to the silent majority, i.e., the cowardly, job-sitting enablers, who are merely not personally murderous. Pride and decency seem low-return avenues of appeal to that sort. Threats that more cops are being proactively killed and retroactively punished for criminal offenses captured on camera are better arguments. Easier to scare cowards than to rely on their certainly questionable and possibly entirely absent better natures.

Agammamon says:

>withhold records on arrested suspects who never faced criminal charges.

This is one of those bullshit ‘semantic’ games these people like to play.

If there were no criminal charges, then he should never have been arrested.

All they’re saying is that if you don’t get to a specific point in the booking procedure ‘its all good’. Like being restrained at gunpoint is no big deal as long as the state let’s you off.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Blatant indifference

"Aww, gee, I mean I know they basically tortured and left your son to die, but they stonewalled you for long enough that there’s just nothing we can do, sorry. Maybe if you’d asked them for the information in a more sternly worded letter and gotten it sooner? It’s not like they had any reason to hide that information, so I’m sure they’d have handed it right over if you’d only asked in a better way."

That no criminal charges were brought reeks of ‘It’s not a crime when the police do it’, as I really doubt manslaughter/murder have that short of a statute of limitations(that’s assuming you can run the clock out of those charges at all). Either that or the FBI considers someone dying in custody after treatment like that nothing to get worked up over, and honestly that’s quite possibly even more horrific.


Re: Blatant indifference

Actually it sounded more like a really bad reaction to illegal drugs. The “torture” was a pretty minor element in a situation that included the kid banging his head against concrete.

Yeah. I get it. Some kid died in police custody and you want to crucify the cops.

If they would have actually taken him to the local ER that would have been interesting. I’m not sure they have the kind of restraints that would have been necessary.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Blatant indifference

I’d ask what it feels like to defend these sort of actions, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what the mindset required for defending tasing someone in the balls, trying someone up and simply watching them bang their head against the floor to the point of death, and then lying about it feels like.

Enjoy defending the indefensible and exposing the kind of person you are in the process I guess.

Michael Chermside (profile) says:

Prosecution would work for the correct crime.

The local prosecutor is wrong. The statute of limitations may have run out for SOME crimes… which is all the more reason to pursue other crimes. I’m fairly certain that the statute of limitations has not run out on the crime of murder. It is a bit of a stretch, but I am confident that many people who are NOT police officers have been convicted of murder on evidence far more flimsy than this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Here is a fact dipshit. The socks didn’t cause him to be fucked up, using drugs did. You might not get service in a restaurant without socks, but it won’t get you arrested.

If he didn’t do drugs, he wouldn’t have been picked up.

Why do people refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why do people refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

Great idea, when are the police going to be held responsible for their actions and inaction?

What’s that, they’re not because they stonewalled the parents until the timer ran out? Huh, guess personal responsibility only applies to those without a badge.

The victim chose to take drugs. He did not choose to be tasered in the balls, or tied up and left to die on the floor by people who were responsible for him as soon as they took him into custody, those things are entirely on the police, so I assume for consistency you believe they should be held accountable for their actions as well, correct?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

He seems to be a typical bootlicker – if you did something, anything, wrong, then anything the cops do up to and including causing your death is fine. As is the fact that they avoid responsibility for manslaughter and/or murder, or any other action that would get an ordinary citizen locked up for a long time.

Of course, he will see nothing wrong with this because he would not have taken the specific action that got this particular guy arrested. He’ll keep that view every time this happens – unless something does happen to him, in which case it will suddenly be a grave injustice.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If he didn’t do drugs, he wouldn’t have been picked up.”

…and if he hadn’t been picked up by this particular gang of thugs, he would still be alive.

“Why do people refuse to take responsibility for their actions?”

Such as causing the needless death of someone taken into custody? Presumably because they wear badges and can delay the justice system for long enough to escape it.

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