North Texas Daily

Family and supporters of Darius Tarver protest to release bodycam footage

Family and supporters of Darius Tarver protest to release bodycam footage

Family and supporters of Darius Tarver protest to release bodycam footage
February 27
10:45 2020

Family and supporters of Darius Tarver came out to the Denton County District Court on Monday, calling for the release of the body cam footage of his shooting. Around 15 people came to the protest, organized by The Next Generation Action Network.

Protesters held signs of support stating “Release the Footage” and “Black Lives Matter” in defense of the Tarver family, who are calling for the release of bodycam footage from the incident between Darius Tarver and the Denton Police Department that ended in Darius’ death.

Darius, a criminal justice senior at UNT, was shot and killed by Denton police on Jan. 21 at The Forum apartment complex after he advanced toward police while wielding a cleaver and frying pan.

Kevin Tarver, Darius’ father, disputes Denton PD’s account of the shooting.

“What I saw was totally a narrative that wasn’t told in the media … I never saw my son stab an officer, if I did I would honestly say I saw that, but I’m going to be honest with you too,” Kevin said in a previous North Texas Daily article. “I wasn’t the only one who saw that video. There was other clergy, so it’s not just my word.”

Manuel Goodman, a 48-year-old Denton native and the owner of local restaurant Clara’s Kitchen, came to show support.

“If everything that the officer says coincides with what happened in the video, why won’t they release it?” Goodman said. “Evidently there is something else going on. That’s why I’m out here today to support. It could have been me or one of my sons. It’s only right to do this. To release the footage.”

Darius suffered from a brain injury in a car accident a week before his death and was released from the hospital on the same day. Friends and family surrounding Darius have said that after the car accident, he was not acting like himself.

Kels Menchaca, a 29-year-old who lives in Denton, was one of the supporters during the protest on Monday morning.

“I didn’t know Darius but I know somebody should not be shot because of what is likely a mental illness,” said Menchaca. “Just release the body cam footage.”

John Catlin Jr. is the Chairperson for Legal Redress of the NAACP, Denton County Branch chapter. Through the NAACP, the chairman and the committee deal with assisting individuals in the community with legal issues, injustices, school board issues and anything that people of the black community endure or need assistance with.

“I met the father in a closed meeting last week,” Catlin Jr. said. “He was telling us what he saw on the video and that there is inconsistencies and stuff going on with the police report and the body cam. And he saw it and he knows. Not only that, he is a chaplain at the McKinney Police Department. The guy does a lot of different things for different organizations and different counties. He moves around and spreads his knowledge.”

Denton City Councilmember Deb Armintor also called for the release of the bodycam footage in an open letter on Facebook.

“As a fellow parent and community member, and as your colleague in open governance, I’m writing to express my support of the recent request made by Darius’ father, Kevin Tarver, for the prompt public release of the unedited body camera footage, which he was recently privately shown,” Armintor said. “He says it doesn’t show his son armed with a meat cleaver, as reported. He says it shows his son being attacked, not attacking. He wants the bodycam footage released immediately so the public can see for themselves.”

Armintor also created a petition on Change.org calling for the release of the body cam footage, which as of 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, had over 1,500 signatures.

“We’ll continue to help the Tarver family until they can get some closure,” Catlin Jr. said. “At least get the public to view the video and body cam so we can move forward from there. That’s all we’re asking today. Let us see the video. We just want to see if Mr. Tarver is on point with what he saw. That was his request. He wants transparency. He wants accountability. He wants all of that.”

Featured Image: Manuel Goodman, 48, stands on the side of E. McKinney street holding a sign that says “Release the Footage” on Feb. 25, 2020. Image by Bertha Angela Smith

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Bertha Smith

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