The United States Supreme Court said on Tuesday it would not consider the case involving four Dallas police officers involved in the 2016 death of a man.
A federal appeals court ruled in January that “qualified immunity” should not shield officers from potential liability stemming from the death of Tony Timpa, a mentally ill man who died after being restrained for nearly 14 minutes.
The city of Dallas fought all the way to the Supreme Court, and on Tuesday the court declined to rule.
“Finally!” Timpa family attorney Geoff Henley said in a statement. “The family waited years for this ruling just to have their day in court.”
Timpa is the one who called 911 to report that he was off his medication and needed help.
Body camera footage released by Dallas police, following a lawsuit filed by our partners at the Dallas Morning News, shows the officers in question restraining Timpa in handcuffs, with his hands tied behind his back and in him pinning the back, shoulders and neck to the floor.
In the video, Timpa can be heard asking for help more than 30 times before losing consciousness and being pronounced dead minutes later.
The Dallas County Medical Examiners’ Office ruled Timpa’s death a homicide due to the effects of cocaine and restraint.
A Dallas County grand jury indicted three of the officers for misdemeanor fatal driving before District Attorney John Creuzot dropped those charges in 2019.
The current legal issue is whether the officers violated Timpa’s civil rights.
“The city has nowhere to go now except for a trial,” Timpa family attorney Henley said. “We still have a long way to go, but the road to the jury box is clear.”
Henley said the family hoped the case would go to trial between June and September, but the city attorney’s office lobbied to delay the case for another year.