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Timeline: Former Temple police officer faces trial Monday in shooting death of Michael Dean

Former officer Carmen DeCruz's trial is set to begin in Jan. 23, 2023 for the 2019 shooting.

TEMPLE, Texas — The trial for the former Temple police officer accused of shooting Michael Dean during a traffic stop in 2019 is slated to begin soon, after several years of delays.

Carmen DeCruz is charged with second-degree manslaughter after allegedly shooting Michael Dean, 28, in the head while reaching into Dean's vehicle to grab his keys.

DeCruz's trial has been delayed multiple times since the charges were filed, but now the trial is officially set to begin in January of 2023.

Below is a timeline of the case, following from the original incident to the current trial date.

Dec. 2, 2019

Michael Dean is stopped by Carmen DeCruz in his vehicle. According to a police affidavit, DeCruz was seen on body camera video walking in front of his patrol vehicle during the traffic stop with his handgun drawn. 

DeCruz made contact with Dean on the passenger side of the car and ordered Dean to turn off the vehicle and give him the keys, according to the affidavit.

DeCruz is seen reaching into the vehicle in an attempt to gain control of the keys with his left hand while holding his firearm in his right hand. DeCruz had the gun pointed at Dean with his finger on the trigger, according to the affidavit.

While DeCruz pulled the keys with his left hand, his right hand also pulled backward and caused the handgun to fire, striking Michael dean in the head, the affidavit said.

The affidavit stated that body camera video showed DeCruz pulling Dean from the vehicle and other officers administering medical aid until medics arrived.

According to the affidavit, Dean died at the scene. No details of the shooting are released to the public at this time.

Dec. 19, 2020

Michael Dean is laid to rest at Hillcrest Cemetery in Temple, Texas. The details surrounding his death have still not been released to the public.

January, 2020

An investigation into Dean's death, led by the Texas Rangers, comes to a conclusion. The Temple branch of the NAACP files complaints about violations of civil rights and hosts protests.

February-March, 2020

DeCruz is charged and indicted in one charge of manslaughter by the Bell County Grand Jury, according to District Attorney Henry Garza.

Dean's family holds a press conference after DeCruz is indicted. They say that they believe DeCruz should be charged for murder, but are glad that he is being held accountable.

DeCruz's bond is later reduced from $500,000 to $80,000. DeCruz is released on bond soon after.

June 5, 2020

A peaceful protest is held in downtown Temple. Citizens and Dean's family speak out against police brutality, especially in the wake of George Floyd's death and national calls for police reform.

June 16, 2020

The family of Michael Dean meets with then-President Donald Trump at the White House.

The family was invited by President Trump to be there as he announced an executive order for policing reform.

The president also met with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Darius Tarver, Cameron Lamb and Everett Palmer. Each of whom had also been killed in interactions with police, with the exception of Ahmaud Arbery who was shot and killed by two white men while jogging in Georgia.

The order came as rallies were held across the country in response to police brutality. They were set off by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died while Officer Derek Chauvin pressed on Floyd's neck with his knee for almost nine minutes.

Dec. 2, 2020

Michael Dean's family is still calling for the Temple Police Department to release the bodycam footage of the stop where Dean was killed. 

National Civil Rights attorney Lee Merritt calls upon both city and national leaders for transparency in the case and the criminal justice system as a whole.

The City of Temple and the Temple Police Department release statements that they are committed to fostering police-community relations and addressing any problems that may exist.

May, 2021

Carmen DeCruz's June 14 trial date is delayed due to backlog in cases. Bell County suspends all jury trials until June 21, 2021. 

No update on DeCruz's trial is given, but authorities state that it is unlikely that DeCruz will reach trial by the end of the year.

December, 2021

A tentative trial date of July 25, 2022 is set for DeCruz

DeCruz' defense attorney Robert McCabe requests 15 different items of evidence and the criminal history of every officer and witness related to the case, causing contention.

July, 2022

DeCruz's trial is delayed once again, at the request of both prosecution and defense attorneys.

DeCruz is still out on bond.

Jan. 23, 2023

Carmen DeCruz's trial is again officially scheduled to begin. Information on the ultimate outcome of the trial will be updated as information becomes available.


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