State Rests Case in Trial of Fired DPD Officer, Defense Takes Over

DPD detective who investigated shooting called as first defense witness, testifies that Christopher Hess' actions were 'reasonable'

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The prosecution rested their case Thursday in the trial of a fired Dallas police officer. Christopher Hess is accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Genevive Dawes during an attempted traffic stop in East Dallas in 2017.

As the trial continues, Hess is now expected to take the stand in his own defense.

According to the state, Hess is accused of unnecessarily using "deadly force" during the encounter. He is pleading not guilty to his charge of aggravated assault by a public servant.

READ MORE: Criminal Trial for Former Dallas Officer Begins

So far Thursday, the jurors listened to testimony from a Dallas police detective assigned to conduct an investigation on the shooting.

Dallas Police Detective Dale Richardson said in court that following the shooting, he was briefed on what happened, walked through crime scene, spoke with crime scene personnel, and did a walk through with witness officers.

The trial for a fired Dallas police officer accused of shooting at a woman 12 times during an investigation continued Thursday.

Jurors watched more body camera video from one of the six officers who responded to that call on a stolen car in an East Dallas apartment complex parking lot in January 2017.

Police said Dawes and her common law husband were sleeping inside the car when a 911 caller reported them. The car turned out to be stolen when the license plate number was searched by police prior to responding to the scene, according to investigators.

The body camera video shows officers making several commands with no response and then Dawes trying to move her car into a fence, eventually backing into one of the DPD vehicles. In the video -- after more commands and another attempt by Dawes to back up the vehicle -- Hess opened fire 12 times.

Dawes was killed. Her passenger survived.

In reviewing the body camera footage from the responding officers, detective Richardson said he observed the officers using the squad car for cover when Dawes began moving her car.

Two officers on the scene have testified this week that they didn't feel they were in danger during the incident while another officer said he considered the car a deadly weapon.

But Richardson -- who said he has investigated other officer involved shootings and people who have died in police custody -- testified that Hess' "use of force was reasonable" due to the behaviors of the officers, the number of commands that were given, the amount of time spent giving those commands and the behaviors of Dawes while behind the wheel of the vehicle.

"It's obvious to me that she's trying to get away, trying to escape," he said.

Officer Jason Kimpel, the only other officer who fired his gun, was also called to testify by the defense. Kimpel notably did not have to testify because of his involvement but chose to waive his 5th amendment rights.

“Why did you make the decision to pull the trigger," Hess' defense attorney Messina Madson asked.

“Because I believed (Officer)Hopkins was going to get hit by that car," Kimpel told jurors.

Kimpel, who was reprimanded by the Dallas Police Department for firing, went on to testify that he believed the car driven by Dawes posed a deadly threat and his reason to fire centered around his belief that other officers were in its path.

Hess' defense said earlier in the trial Dawes' actions were "drug induced" and that a loaded gun was found in the car.

But the prosecution stated that the shooting was "unjustified" and that according to the Dawes family, Genevive did not know the car was stolen when she bought it a month before the shooting.

If found guilty, Hess could face anywhere from 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

Click here to read previous coverage of the Hess trial.

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