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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

UPDATE: Dallas Police Fires Officer Who Shot Unarmed Mentally Ill Man

Cardan Spencer could be fired as a result of the hearing.

Update, 4:56 p.m. Thursday: The Dallas police officer who shot a mentally ill man in a disputed incident caught on tape has been fired, the department announced this afternoon.

Cardan Spencer faced a disciplinary hearing Thursday morning. He has also been charged with aggravated assault.

“Officers are not above the law,” Chief David Brown said at a press conference. “We as a police department are not going to look the other way. We’re not going to sweep officer misconduct under the rug.  Officers’ actions must be reasonable and necessary.”

Spencer wrote in a police report that 52-year-old Bobby Gerald Bennett threatened him and another officer with a knife last week when Spencer fired his gun at him. But video captured by a neighbor's camera shows Bennett didn't appear to move toward the officers at all until he crumpled to the ground from a gunshot.

Bennett's mother, Joyce Jackson, says her son suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Following an outcry after the video was publicized, Spencer was placed on indefinite administrative leave.

Dallas police are taking Spencer's aggravated assault charges to a grand jury.

Brown issued an apology Thursday:

“I want to personally and professionally apologize to Mr. Bennett and the Bennett family for the actions of officers Spencer and [Christopher] Watson,” Brown said.

Watson didn’t fire his gun, but Brown said Thursday that he has asked for a supplemental investigation regarding Watson, who made statements that contradict what was captured in the video.

Brown says firing Spencer was not easy, but necessary. 

"This is his career," Brown said. "This is potentially his freedom, depending upon the adjudication process in the court system.  This officer has a family.  These are not easy decisions.” 

George Milner, the attorney for the Bennett family, said Brown had no choice but to fire Spencer based on the video of the shooting.

"What happened 10 days ago should never have happened,” Milner told media.

Milner says he's troubled that one or more officers lied about what happened on an arrest affidavit for Bennett.

Charges of attempted assault of a police officer have been dropped against Bennett.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released a statement expressing support for Brown's investigation of the incident: “I support our police force and believe Dallas has one of the best departments in the country. We must keep it pure of any perceptions of wrongdoing, and that’s exactly what Chief Brown has done by handling this investigation thoroughly and expediently.”

Dallas police announced Spencer's termination via Twitter:

Here's the surveillance video:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.