The Mesquite Police Department released new video and details in Tuesday's deadly police shooting of Ashton Pinke, who was known to be mentally ill.
Mesquite police held a press conference Friday afternoon to release bodycam video and audio of the initial 911 call in the shooting of the 27-year-old who police said charged at them while holding a knife and a club.
Ashton Pinke, was believed to have assaulted his girlfriend at the Audubon Park Apartments in the 5800 block of Northwest Drive, according to a police news release.
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Officers were dispatched to a 911 hang-up call made by Pinke's girlfriend at about 7:45 a.m. where the dispatcher heard screaming and what sounded like a struggle in the background. The woman never explains what is happening before the call is dropped.
However, the 911 dispatcher was able to find the address because of previous calls for service.
Officers were dispatched to a 'disturbance call' but were advised the suspect had a history of mental health issues, including being bipolar.
Mesquite Police Department's spokesman released audio and video with the department's narrative of what occurred but did show the moments before and immediately after the shooting in its entirety.
Police opened fire on the man within two minutes of arriving on the scene.
A female veteran officer's body camera was activated as she arrived on the scene and knocked on Pinke's apartment door.
Her body camera shows Pinke open the door slightly, deny there was a disturbance and close the door on the officer with a woman and a child still inside.
Moments later, the woman and a small child come out of the apartment.
The woman tells the female officer Pinke is fleeing in the back and that he has a knife.
Police say Pinke jumped out of a window on the backside of the building.
The officers went to the side of the building, where they say Pinke was holding a knife and a club.
Family tells NBC 5, Pinke used a cane to walk.
The officer's body camera shows the suspect, who is not visible at the time, repeatedly tell police to 'shoot' as police say 'don't do it' several times.
The family's attorney and police differ as to whether Pinke indeed had two deadly weapons in his hands.
Pinke, police say, lunged toward officers with both items in his hands. He was shot by both officers within seconds, according to the body camera video.
The video clearly shows Pinke drop a long object after he is shot. He is then seen rolling around near the sidewalk where he released a silver object in his hand that police say is a knife.
Police released photographs on Friday showing a walking stick they say had sockets and batteries taped to the ends and a box-cutter with a blade they insist Pinke was holding at the time of the shooting.
"They contacted the suspect who ultimately charged at them with the weapons in his hand and unfortunately officers had to make the decision to use deadly force," said Mesquite police Sgt. Mark Bradford.
Pinke was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Pinke's girlfriend was checked out by a second ambulance, but refused to go to the hospital, Bradford said.
Pinke's family has retained attorney Justin A. Moore, who says his office intends to "investigate any and all civil rights claims for Ashton's family while demanding full transparency in any and all investigation that will be conducted by law enforcement going forward."
"Unfortunately, the lack of a proper response by the Mesquite Police Department ended in Asthon being shot and killed," Moore said in his statement.
The officers involved in the shooting have not been named, but the Mesquite Police Department said Tuesday afternoon they are a female 25-year veteran officer and a male 21-year veteran officer. As per department policy, the officers are on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
Pinke’s family left the police department Friday afternoon visibly upset after viewing the body camera video of the shooting.
The family's attorneys spoke with members of the media outside MPD and continue to be critical of the offers’ actions.
“Ashton had a history of mental illness and the Mesquite Police Department should have known about this,” said the family’s attorney Justin Moore.
“Officers were sent to a 911 hang-up call,” said Lt. Stephen Biggs of the Mesquite Police Department. “They were not called to a mentally disturbed person, they were sent to a 911 hang-up call involving a disturbance, so first and foremost they’re going to handle that situation and get that under control before they deal with anything related to the mental aspect.”
Both officers were carrying tasers, although tasers are not required by this police department.
Both officers were also trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention procedures, according to MPD.
“I think using deadly force should be the very last thing that officers use. There are other options,” argued family attorney Daryl Washington.
When asked why officers were not able to de-escalate the situation, the department’s spokesman said: “The suspect was wielding two deadly weapons and we’re not countering two deadly weapons with a less deadly device.”
Of note, investigators were able to retrieve the body camera of just one of the two officers involved. Lt. Biggs says they are investigating why the second officer's camera malfunctioned or was not turned on.
Although Mesquite police officers had previous contact with Pinke, the department's spokesman said on Friday that neither of the officers involved in his death had previous contact with Pinke.
Dr. Alex Del Carmen is a national expert on police training and professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.
He isn't involved with the case but viewed what police released Friday to share his opinion.
"Just by looking at how rapidly things moved I don't see where the officers were unreasonable in the use of force. However, my preference would have been that they use a taser," Del Carmen said.
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