Police Didn't Seek Medical Help For Teen Who Kept Banging His Head, They Just Tasered Him Repeatedly Before He Died

Prosecutors said the police could be charged with criminally negligent homicide if it weren't for the statute of limitations. 

By Gina Tron

In 2013, police arrived at a middle school parking lot in Mesquite, Texas to discover 18-year-old Graham Dyer banging his head on the ground. He had taken LSD and was having a bad reaction.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, police decided to arrest him. En route to the local jail, Dyer continued to hit his head on the backseat of the police cruiser, the door, and even the metal separation cage. At some point, the cruiser pulled over so that police could taser the teen, something that the boy’s parents only learned years later. The police also allegedly shocked him in the groin.

For more than two years, the Mesquite Police Department refused to release their footage of the teen. The clip shows disturbing images of four police officers repeatedly tasing him in the backseat of the cruiser. One of the officers can be heard telling him, “Mother[expletive], I’m going to kill you.”

Only hours later, Dyer was dead.

According to the official death report, on August 13, 2013, someone called 911 after witnessing Dyer rolling around on the ground near the middle school. At one point, that witness watched him run into a glass door at full speed. When police arrived, they handcuffed him and according to the report, Dyer responded by slamming his head into the ground.

“Paramedics were called and he continued to slam his head into the ground but was cleared for transport to the jail,” the report says. “On the way to the jail, the deceased repeatedly slammed the front of his head into the security cage and the back seat all while yelling. Once at the jail he was placed in a restraint chair until the jail personnel noticed he was having labored breathing. Paramedics were called out and the deceased was transported to the hospital where he later died. ”A police-hired expert testified that the officers -- Jack Fyall, Richard Houston, Alan Gafford, Zachary Scott, William Heidelburg and Bill Hedgpeth -- acted reasonably in the hours before the teen’s death.

In an affidavit, Gafford defended his actions and claimed that he never tased Graham in the crotch.

“I attempted to apply (my) Taser in a drive stun mode to stop his violent resistance and ended up tasing him in the upper thigh,” Gafford, a 17-year veteran of the police department wrote. “Although the night vision video camera appears to depict this was in the groin area, it was the upper inner thigh.”

Scott also defended his actions, explaining why he threatened to kill the teenager.

“I used harsh language during that stop out of frustration and also as a control tactic as I have learned that sometimes harsh language will get a person’s attention and achieve some cooperation,” the officer, a 7-year police veteran wrote. “Unfortunately, it did not work with Mr. Dyer.”

Prosecutors disagreed with the police. They actually concluded there was enough evidence to charge them with criminally negligent homicide. However, the statute of limitations has expired in this case, and no charges will be brought. But the FBI is looking to see if the officers violated any federal laws.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, police observed Dyer bang his head at least 50 times, yet they did not order a medical examination to be performed or write a medical intake form.

His parents are angry about the way their son was treated. Dyer’s mother told the Austin-American Statesman, “I’m not saying doing LSD wasn’t stupid. And things happen. But this should have never happened.”

[Photos: Facebook, Mesquite Police Department] 

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