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Former Arlington police officer could face no prison time after pleading guilty to 2018 shooting

 Body camera footage of a Black man in the front seat of his car. A police officer wearing sunglasses can be seen through the passenger side window.
Arlington Police Department
Associated Press
In this screenshot taken from Sept. 1, 2018, police body camera video provided by the Arlington Police Department, an officer, foreground, talks to O'Shae Terry after stopping him for a vehicle registration violation, in Arlington, Texas, as a second officer, background left, looks in from the passenger side window. Arlington police officer Bau Tran was fired after he was charged with criminally negligent homicide in the fatal shooting of a black man during a traffic stop last year.

The Arlington police officer who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing 24-year-old O'Shae Terry in 2018 will not face prison time, according to county records.

Bau Tran was placed on six years of deferred adjudication community supervision after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide. That means he'll serve six years of probation. If he doesn't violate the terms of his probation, he'll have no conviction placed on his record. If failed, he will serve all six years.

He was also charged $600 in fines and $300 in court costs.

The decision is the latest in the court saga that sprung from Terry's shooting death.

It's also one that civil rights leaders described as a "dereliction of justice" in the shooting death of a Black Texan.

Tran shot and killed Terry Sept. 1, 2018 during a traffic stop. Tran stuck his gun through Terry's passenger side window and shot multiple times as Terry tried to drive away with his passenger. Another police officer initially stopped Terry for expired registration, but told Terry she planned to search his car after smelling marijuana.

The police department dismissed Tran for violating city and department administrative policies. A grand jury indicted Tran in 2019 on criminal negligent homicide charges.

Terry's mother, Sherley Woods, and Terrence Harmon, the passenger during the shooting, sued Tran and the City of Arlington for civil rights violations. The case was dismissed in the U.S. District Court's North Texas District, and in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lee Merritt, Woods' and Harmon's attorney in the civil suit, said Tran's deferred adjudication is a denial of accountability for his actions.

"To see an agreement where he accepts responsibility for committing a criminal act for the death of O'Shae Terry but never does a day in jail, and moreover, it can be erased off his record within the described period, is a dereliction of justice," Merritt said.

Robert Rogers, Tran's attorney, said the deal presents an opportunity to move on for all involved.

"We realize this is a viable alternative for both sides to reach some closure," he said.

For Merritt and Arlington civil rights advocates, it's anything but.

Former Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson told Terry's family she would not accept a plea deal that did not include jail time, Merritt said.

But Phil Sorrells won the November election to succeed Wilson, who did not run for another term. That commitment did not extend to his office, Merritt said.

"(Wilson) committed to (Woods) that she would prosecute this case to the full extent of the law and she would not settle for any sentence that didn't involve jail time," Merritt said.

The DA's office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Kennedy Jones, Arlington, TX NAACP president, said Wilson promised his chapter the same.

Jones' chapter wants to engage Sorrells' office, with help from NAACP chapters in Fort Worth and Grand Prairie.

"We plan to bring ... the most intense political pressure, social pressure, community pressure that we can to make him listen to our concerns," Jones said.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.