Grand jury clears Cpl. Stephen Bean

Grand jury clears Cpl. Stephen Bean

March 24
11:28 2016

Dalton LaFerney | News Editor

@daltonlaferney

The UNT police officer who shot and killed 21-year-old Ryan McMillan will not face charges because a Denton County grand jury chose not to indict the officer, according to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office.

UNT police Cpl. Stephen Bean shot and killed McMillan the morning of Dec. 13, 2015, after responding to a disturbance call. When he arrived, according to dash camera footage released by authorities, McMillan was carrying a small ax or hatchet.

When McMillan began walking toward Bean, the officer told him multiple times to stop. McMillan did not, and Bean fired three to four shots, leaving him dead at the corner of Oak and Fry streets.

The grand jury chose not to indict, but that does not necessarily mean this case is finished. McMillan’s family hired an attorney, Renee Higginbotham-Brooks. She has criticized the Texas Rangers for its investigation of the shooting, saying the agency — along with the university — has not been open enough to the community about this investigation.

“This no-bill presents more questions than it does answers to what happened,” Higginbotham-Brooks said in a statement. “With the secrecy surrounding the investigation of this incident, we are not surprised by the grand jury’s action. There has not been any transparency from the beginning only secrecy.”

The results from McMillan’s autopsy have not been released because the Texas Rangers argued public access to the document would disrupt the investigation, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office and dispatches from the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Since McMillan’s death, university officials deferred all comment and information to the Texas Rangers, and they put Bean on desk duty. Because of UNT’s silence, it was not immediately known whether Bean (or other officers) carried tasers, nor is the UNT Police Department’s use of force policy known, but a report revealed the department does supply its patrol officers with tasers.

UNT responded to the news with a statement saying officials were appreciative of the grand jury’s decision and of the impartial investigation.

“The university believes he acted appropriately under the circumstances and showed commendable restraint before taking this action,” the statement said.

UNT spokesperson Margarita Venegas said Bean is still on administrative duty, but is expected to return to regular duty soon. She said she was not sure when exactly Bean will return patrol duties.

Staff writer Tiffany Ditto contributed to this report.

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