DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — A federal jury awarded the 15-year-old son of Tony Timpa $1 million in damages seven years after Timpa died in police custody.
The jury decided Dallas officer Dustin Dillard violated Timpa's constitutional rights and used excessive force when he put his knee on his back for more than 14 minutes. The jury also found two of the other three officers named in the civil lawsuit, Danny Vasquez and Raymond Dominguez, violated Timpa's constitutional rights when they failed to intervene.
"I finally have some closure," said Timpa's mother, Vicki. "I am happy for Kolton [Timpa's son]. He saw that his father's life mattered. That was so very important."
Kolton was 8 when his father died.
The jury did not find the officers acted in malice and thus no punitive damages were awarded. The jury also said all the officers, except Dominguez, were protected by qualified immunity—a legal protection provided to officers.
The federal judge explained to the jury that qualified immunity would apply in this case if jurors found that a reasonable officer would not have known that the restraint used on Timpa and their officers' actions were unlawful.
No explanation was given as to why jurors decided only Dominguez was not protected by qualified immunity.
In 2016, Timpa was suffering from a mental health crisis and had taken cocaine when he called 911 for help.
With Timpa's hands cuffed and his feet zip-tied, officers pinned him face down. Police body camera footage shows Timpa called out for help more than 35 times, but by the time officers moved Timpa to a stretcher, he was dead.
During testimony last week, Dillard said he did not kill Timpa and did nothing wrong.
The defense argued the officers restrained Timpa so they could get him the medical treatment he needed and that drugs and Timpa's heart condition—not the officers' actions that night—caused his death.
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