Father of UNT Student Killed by Police Wants Body Camera Video Released

Kevin Tarver disputes the police department's account of what happened the day his son died

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The father of a University of North Texas student killed by Denton police says the department's story doesn't match up with what he's seen on body camera video.

Police say Darius Tarver was holding a frying pan and meat clever when he charged at officers Jan. 21.

Police shot and killed him.

Now, his father said that's not what he saw and called for transparency in the investigation.

“I was willing to accept it if what they said was true, but if what they said wasn't true, then I had to be a voice for my son, and that's why we're at where we're at now,” said Darius’ father Kevin Tarver.

Kevin Tarver is a pastor and chaplain for the McKinney Police Department.

He said his son worked two jobs and wanted a career in law enforcement.

“He was a helper, he was a listener, he was servant. He loved to cook, he loved to see people happy,” Tarver said.

He said his son was clearly not himself the morning police were called to his Denton apartment over complaints the 23-year-old was acting erraticly.

Police said Darius refused to drop a frying pan and meat clever, so they fired a taser, twice.

“Which was ineffective and at that point the subject charged at the officers,” Denton police Chief Frank Dixon said in a Jan. 21 press conference.

Body camera video hasn't been released to the public, but Tarver said he watched it with Dixon and the Texas Department of Public Safety last week.

“That's why it’s so many holes, ‘Meat clever-wielding man attacks police?’ He was the one being attacked,” Tarver said.

Tarver said he believed Darius was having a mental crisis. He said Darius didn't have a meat clever, never attacked police and never should have been shot.

“He fell down and I still see his face crying out still crying out to God,” Tarver said.

Throughout this process, Tarver said he's tried to keep an open mind.

“Facts, it has to be facts,” Tarver said.

He said he wanted the public to see the facts for themselves.

“I don’t want people to listen to me, I want people to see the video. That's why we need to get the body cam out,” he said. NBC 5 requested the body camera video, but has not received it.

Texas Rangers are conducting a criminal investigation. The Rangers will present the findings to a grand jury.

Denton police said an internal investigation was underway to determine if officers use of force was appropriate.

“The death of Darius is tragic for all involved, including our community at large. Our collective hearts go out to the Tarver family, as well as friends and students at the University of North Texas,” a Denton police department spokesperson said in a statement.

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