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Grand Jury Decides Not To Indict Dallas Officers In Shooting Of Mentally Ill Man

The July 14, 2014, shooting by Dallas police officers of Jason Harrison is pending review by a grand jury. Warning: The video contains graphic images.

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Two Dallas police officers who shot and killed a mentally ill man will not be indicted by a grand jury, according to local news reports.

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The grand jury's decision not to charge the two police officers was announced Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Jason Harrison's family, however, still has a federal civil lawsuit pending against the two officers and the city.

Attorney Geoff Hanley, who is representing the family of the 38-year-old man, told the Morning News the family was disappointed by the decision, but planned to continue moving forward with the federal case.

Jason Harrison died June 14, 2014 after he was shot by officers John Rodgers and Andrew Hutchins outside his home.

Body camera video of the shooting sparked protests in Dallas after relatives released the video.

Officers first arrived at the home in the 200 block of Glencairn Drive around 11:25 a.m. in response to a call of a disturbance involving a man who was mentally ill, according to police records. He was off his medication and in crisis, his family told the Dallas Morning-News.

In a video recorded by an officer's body camera, Harrison's mother walks out of the home after police arrive and tells them, "Oh, he's just off the chain. You can hear him. [Talking about] chopping up people."

She identifies him as her son and adds, "bipolar schizo."

Geoff Henley, an attorney for the family, told BuzzFeed News that Harrison's mother had called 911 to ask for help bringing him to a hospital. She said he was argumentative, but she did not say he was acting violently or threatening her, Henley said.

"She doesn't feel like she's in grave danger," he said. "This is a drill she's done."

Harrison walks out and stands in the doorway with a screwdriver.

"The suspect lunged at one officer and two officers fired their weapons striking the suspect five times," a police summary of the incident stated.

But Henley disputes that Harrison lunged or made any kind of stabbing motion with the screwdriver. He and the family first received a copy of the body camera video last month. The footage, Henley said, does not fit with officers' recounts of events.

"It's absolutely horrifying," he said. "You're seeing this man dying in his driveway."

The officers were identified as John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins, who had each been with the department for more than five years. BuzzFeed News has reached out to their attorney for comment.

For the Harrison family, the video illustrates how poorly police interact with people with mental illnesses.

"They genuinely believe the officers escalated this thing needlessly," Henley said. "They didn't diffuse this situation."

The issue is one faced by police departments around the country, Henley added, as officers are often first responders in mental health crises.

"The bottom line is you don't treat mental illness with a 9 mm pistol," he said.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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