TEMPLE, Texas — A rally in protest of the not guilty verdict for former Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz was planned for Thursday, Feb. 9 in downtown Temple.
DeCruz was acquitted Tuesday of second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection to the shooting death of Michael Dean.
The rally was expected to take place at 5:30 p.m., but Dean's family told 6 News they would not attend.
"We do not have any affiliation with his event and had no input on it," said a Dean family member. "We won't be attending either but will be putting together something ourselves soon."
According to an arrest affidavit, DeCruz had his finger on the trigger of his gun when he reached into Dean's car from the passenger side to take the keys out of the ignition that day. As DeCruz pulled back on the keys, his finger also pulled the trigger, which resulted in Dean being shot in the head -- an action that Robert McCabe, DeCruz's defense attorney, argued was Dean's fault.
Video from DeCruz's body camera showed the entire interaction but the City of Temple has denied all open records requests for the video's release.
A forensic analyst brought in by the defense testified the video showed Dean struck DeCruz's gun with his own hands which made the gun discharge, resulting in his death.
"The truth is, Michael Dean caused his own death in this case," McCabe said shortly after the verdict came down. "It should've never happened, but the fact is that drunk people make bad choices and touching an officer's gun, causing it to be discharged is not a crime."
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6 News asked Dean's sister for a comment after the verdict, but she refused. There was no comment made by Dean's family or prosecutors.
In a statement the City of Temple released late Tuesday night, the city restated it would not release the video citing possible appeals in the criminal case and a pending civil lawsuit.
"Although a not guilty verdict was reached, the criminal matters will not be finally adjudicated until all appeals have been exhausted," the statement reads. Additionally, the city remains in active litigation and in order to ensure that the trial process is fair and impartial, the body worn camera footage will not be released until the civil litigation concludes."
The Dean family filed a civil lawsuit in Waco's U.S. District Court in November, 2021 against DeCruz and the City of Temple. They are seeking $10-million.
A motion to dismiss the suit was filed in July, 2022, but Judge Derek T. Gilliland granted a motion to stay until the conclusion of the criminal prosecution.
As of the time this article was written, no further ruling had been made in the case.