Prosecutors: Cop charged in shooting had disciplinary flaws
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A former Texas police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black man during a traffic stop last year had a disciplinary record with his department that showed “bad character,” prosecutors said.
Bau Tran, 36, was fired from the Arlington Police Department after the Sept. 1, 2018, shooting of 24-year-old O’Shae Terry and was indicted for criminally negligent homicide. If convicted of the felony, he could receive up to two years in a state jail.
Last week, Tarrant County prosecutors filed a document in state district court in Fort Worth that they called evidence of Tran’s “extraneous offenses, bad acts and bad character.”
Tran was helping another officer who had stopped Terry for a registration violation. Police footage, which consists of both body and dashboard camera videos, shows the other officer chatting with Terry and his front seat passenger after pulling Terry’s sport utility vehicle over.
Tran, responding as backup, arrives and approaches the passenger side door. The first officer tells Terry and his passenger that she smells marijuana in their vehicle and needs to search it.
The first officer then heads back to a patrol vehicle. About three minutes later, the SUV’s windows start to roll up and Tran grabs onto the passenger side window and tells Terry to stop.
The SUV moves forward as three shots ring out. As the vehicle continues moving, two more shots are heard.
Terry died later at a hospital.
In the new court document, prosecutors said Tran had nine entries on his police disciplinary record. Tran’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Two of the entries centered on a May 2, 2012, confrontation with another man while Tran was off duty. The man alleged that Tran challenged him and pulled a knife on him while identifying himself as a police officer. Tran was suspended for one day without pay.
Tran also received a written reprimand for backing his patrol car into a gate while talking on his cellphone on Nov. 11, 2012, and an oral reprimand for failure to take appropriate action and being untruthful to a police sergeant regarding an intoxicated suspect on November 4, 2012.
On April 12, 2012, he received an oral reprimand for violating city policy requiring careful and prudent operation of any vehicle on city business.
And on Jan. 21, 2015, he received counseling after he failed to handcuff a suspect, make her aware that she was under arrest for a felony and have her searched. Tran also was the subject of an April 27, 2015, citizen complaint that he had called a man a bad parent and threatened to take him to jail.
Prosecutors also said that on May 21, 2017, while off duty, Tran donned his police uniform shirt before stepping from his personal car and confronting a person after a “road rage” incident.