Body cam video released after man died 5 days after losing consciousness while in Dallas PD custody
DALLAS - The Dallas Police Department released body camera footage of a man who lost consciousness while in custody and died five days later.
Andre Leshon Lee was arrested on Aug. 28 after police said he broke into several homes and threatened to kill a homeowner.
According to the investigation, it happened while he and his wife were driving through Pleasant Grove. She said he got out of the car and started running.
Someone called 911 just before 11 p.m. to report that a man, later identified as Lee, was beating on doors in the 9400 block of Jill Lane.
Police said Lee forced his way into a home. The homeowner fired a shot at Lee but missed. He then fled from the home on foot.
Lee reportedly tried to break into another home and was turned away. He kicked in the door of yet another home and stole a cell phone before leaving and running to a home on Enola Gay Avenue.
Investigators said Lee then jumped through the home’s front window, grabbed a “cutting instrument,” took some money and threatened to kill the homeowner. Then he went into a bedroom and barricaded himself inside.
DPD reports that five officers arrived at the scene at 11:15 p.m. and called for Dallas-Fire Rescue to be on standby minutes later. Officers were able to get everyone else out of the home before handcuffing Lee and taking him into custody at 11:21 p.m.
A short time later, Lee lost consciousness. DPD said the officers immediately began CPR on Lee while waiting for the paramedics to arrive and take him to the hospital.
Lee passed away five days later on Sept. 2. He was still in the hospital in police custody.
Lee's wife told police at the scene that he had been high on cocaine. His toxicology report is still pending and his death is under investigation.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s office is conducting an independent investigation, in addition to the one being conducted by DPD's Special Investigations Unit.
Police said they released the body camera video to comply with a new department policy regarding in-custody death. It shows officers used no physical force against him as they talked him out of the back room of the house he had broken in to.
Criminologist Dr. Alex Del Carmen said making the video public may lead people to question but also open eyes.
"Can something be done in order to save people's lives so that the law enforcement of the law as we saw in the latter parts of the video," Del Carmen said. "I think we're gonna learn more about the distressors of police-related work. I don't think many people really understand what exactly police officers go through when they answer a call like this."
Former prosecutor Russell Wilson said if a higher level of transparency is the goal, then this is the correct start.
"Now they gotta maintain that if there's a situation where a use of force is involved and that use of force causes the death," Wilson said.