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

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

Kevin Tarver, Darius’ father, disputes Denton PD account of shooting
February 22
16:22 2020

The father of a former UNT student shot and killed by a Denton Police officer during an incident at a student apartment complex gave new details of what he saw in the police bodycam footage shared with him, claiming the footage did not show the narrative outlined in police reports from the incident.

Kevin Tarver spoke about his son Darius’ last minutes during an impromptu meeting at Denton City Hall on February 20th. Denton City Councilwoman Deb Armintor set up the meeting following her public letter showing her support of Tarver’s request to release the body cam footage.

“It’s my job to advocate for the public and also it’s my job to make sure there’s transparency is happening in all facets of government,” Armintor said.

Police reports said Darius Tarver, a UNT student, was acting erratic, swinging a cleaver and breaking lights at an apartment complex in Denton when police responded and ultimately shot and killed him.

Darius’s father said when he saw the police bodycam footage, he did not think it matched up with what he read in the police report or what he was told by the police department.

“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. I wasn’t the only one who saw that video,” Kevin said. “There was other clergy, so it’s not just my word.”

In a press conference on February 11, Tarver announced he had seen the police bodycam footage and requested for its release to the public. The impromptu meeting with Armintor is the first time he has revealed details about the bodycam footage.

“The first thing they did was start yelling at him to drop the weapons, drop the weapons, and he’s standing in his own world. He’s not charging anybody, he’s not trying to attack anybody, and at that point, you know, within a minute to two minutes, it’s time to do something,” Kevin said. “They said they gave him plenty of time, well in de-escalation it can take 30 minutes to an hour, it can take however long it takes to save a life.”

Kevin says he is also frustrated because he has contacted the Denton Police Department, the Texas Rangers and the District Attorney’s office, but he says none of them are communicating with him as much as he would like.

Kevin’s attorney, Lee Merritt, outlined why he thinks the bodycam footage should be released to the public.

“We’re still unsure about what happened,” Merritt said. “There are witnesses that have not come forward. Both this video and the identity of the officer should be released because if this officer has been engaged in misconduct before, the community has a right to know and that should be a consideration before the case goes to a grand jury. So there are legitimate investigatory reasons for releasing this video.”

The Texas Rangers did not respond to a request for comment, and the Denton Police Department reiterated this is an ongoing investigation, and it cannot comment further.

Featured Image: Kevin Tarver shares new details from private bodycam footage showing, of the death of his son, UNT student Darius Tarver. Image by Blaine Tatum

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Anthony Gaut

Anthony Gaut

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