FORT WORTH — A Tarrant County grand jury has declined to indict an Arlington police officer in the shooting death of a man during a traffic stop in February, the district attorney’s office announced Thursday.
Tavis Crane, 23, who had warrants for his arrest, refused multiple times on Feb. 1 to get out of his vehicle when asked to do so by Cpl. Elise Bowden before twice running over her. A backup officer, Craig Roper, who was partially in the car before it started moving, then got all the way in and shot Crane.
Bowden suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones, and was hospitalized for several days.
A grand jury voted to take no action against Roper in the shooting.
Crane family attorney Lee Merritt has demanded that police release dashcam video of the incident, saying witness accounts differed from the version released by police.
The district attorney’s office released dashcam video of the incident on Thursday.
The video shows Bowden and two other officers approach Crane’s car after pulling him over for a probation violation and multiple misdemeanor warrants out of Dallas County. Two adults and an infant were also in the car.
Bowden, on the dashcam video, asks Crane to step out of the car. Crane says, “I’m not stepping out, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
After some back and forth conversation, Bowden says, “You have a warrant and you need to step out.”
Crane continued to deny that he had a warrant out for his arrest.
“I have to take my baby home now,” he said. “I’m not stepping out.”
After Crane refused again to get out of the car, Bowden responded, “Tavis, if you go and do something stupid, then we’re going to be breaking windows, it’s going to get crazy. It ain’t worth it. Look at me. I’m talking to you like a mother, OK? You’re a father. Open the door, baby.”
One officer then opens the back driver’s side door of the car, while another points a flashlight in the front passenger’s window.
“Put your hands on the dashboard,” one officer yells.
“Open the door!” Bowden shouts again. “I told you don’t want to do this. Open the door. Open the door now.”
At that point, the officer who had opened the back driver’s side door — and who, based on the police account, was presumably Roper — appears to be partially inside the car.
After more yelling from Bowden, telling Crane “don’t do it!” Crane’s car revs up and moves forward slightly. Bowden then moves behind the car, which rams backward, knocking her to the ground. The car crashes into the patrol car before pulling forward, running over Bowden again.
“Oh my god!” Bowden screams repeatedly. “I’ve been run over twice!”
At some point during all of that, Roper shot Crane, though it was unclear from the dashcam video exactly when. Crane drove away with Roper still in the car, and an officer in a second patrol car followed, according to that officer’s dashcam video.
Crane’s car only went a short distance down the road. When the second officer arrived, Roper was standing outside the car.
Roper and the second officer pulled Crane from the car and performed CPR as a woman in the car cried. Crane was taken to Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In a press release in February, Merritt — who also represents Jacqueline Craig, the black woman arrested by a white Fort Worth police officer in an incident that went viral on social media — said Roper “initiated a struggle that culminated in Crane’s death.”
Merritt could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Ryan Osborne: 817-390-7684, @RyanOsborneFWST
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