Denton Police End Internal Investigation Into Death of Darius Tarver, Find No Wrongdoing

Officers will face no discipline after internal affairs investigation finds officers followed policies and procedures

NBC 5 News

Nearly a month after a Denton County grand jury no-billed a Denton police officer in the shooting death of Darius Tarver, a 23-year-old University of North Texas student who charged at officers with a knife and resisted stun guns, the police department has concluded their internal investigations and found no wrongdoing on the part of police officers.

Tarver's father, Kevin Tarver, said his son was having a mental episode related to head injuries from a recent accident when he was shot and killed by a police officer outside of his apartment on Jan. 21, 2020.

Officers said they were called to the Forum at Denton Station apartments at about 3 a.m. after multiple people reported a man banging on doors and shattering light fixtures with a frying pan.

Police said they used a stun gun twice after Tarver refused to drop the pan and a meat cleaver. When he then charged at officers, one of the officers shot him.

The Denton Police Department said Thursday the administrative investigation into Tarver's death is now complete and that the internal affairs department "conducted an exhaustive investigation to determine if the involved officers followed and complied with their training and Department policies."

Those findings were presented to the officers' chain of command including Chief Frank Dixon on Thursday.

"Based upon the totality of the circumstances as presented to the officers on scene, and after considerable deliberation, the Chief of Police, with the unanimous agreement of the officers' chain of command, determined that the officers' actions that night did not violate the Civil Service Rules or the Denton Police Department policies, procedures, or training that were in place at the time," the department said in a statement Thursday.

Because the officers' actions were found to not be in violation of policies, rules or procedures, no disciplinary action is being taken against the officers, the department said, adding "this decision does not minimize the tragic events of that night, which resulted in the death of Darius Tarver."

Kevin Tarver told NBC 5 Thursday that he plans to continue fighting for his son and will push for changes inside the Denton Police Department.

"There need to be changes in Denton," Tarver said. "Those officers that are still out there, I feel for other peoples' family that could still be in danger because if that's the training they use that training is very deadly. There's no de-escalation."

Tarver said he was very supportive of law enforcement but that what happened to his son wasn't "normal protocol" adding that "it's something that shouldn't happen to anyone."

Tarver had hoped the grand jury would indict the officers last month and added that a lack of discipline from the department makes it hard for him to know who to trust.

"As long as the bad officers are able to keep their jobs and are able to go back to these forces and people don't know who to trust. And if they don't know who to trust that means it puts a bad mark on the entire law enforcement community -- which it shouldn't be that way," Tarver said.

NBC 5's Maria Guerrero contributed to this report.

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