CENTRAL TEXAS — The verdict in the Carmen DeCruz trial has rattled the community and the family of Michael Dean, a Black man fatally shot during a traffic stop in 2019.
Terris Goodwin, a close childhood friend of Michael and community activist with Wake-Up Temple said, “Unfortunately, but fortunately for Carmen DeCruz his defense was pretty good, and they did sow that seed of doubt in the jurors’ minds.”
Data from the national law enforcement memorial fund found officers come into contact with 17 percent of the US Population - that's about 55 million people, and among that number data also shows, people of color in the U.S. are more likely to be victims of violent confrontations with police officers than their white counterparts.
With the verdict in the Carmen Decruz case coming out as not guilty, several people in the community are saying the result is not right.
Patrick Arryn, a close family friend of Michael Dean said, “I was pulled over in Temple at 9 a.m. on October 17, 2019, 2 months prior to Michael Dean being murdered...and I drove less than a mile to a dollar store because I was scared for my life, I drove to a dollar store where I knew there were cameras.”
Many said they're living in fear as a person of color in their own backyard, now having the "talk" with their children on police safety.
Terris shared, “My son he knows you put your hands up, you stop in a well-lit area, because as we’ve seen the body cam footage won't always be released.”
Terris Goodwin said in addition to having those hard conversations with her son, she's focusing on the call to action for Michael Dean's justice, “Those of us who have been hurting and are upset, I hope that we turn that outrage into some outcome and accountability.”
Goodwin said those steps include voting.
She now encourages the community to get involved in the next city council vote coming up, as it's there where change can be brought about.