Former Dallas police officer Christopher Hess, 42, stands trial in the fatal shooting of mother-of-two Genevive Dawes, 21. Prosecutors said he went way over the line in firing numerous shots at a vehicle in which the victim was a driver. Another cop also opened fire, but only once, and was not charged. The two police officers fired a total of at least 13 shots. Dawes was struck multiple times, sustaining wounds to her neck, arms, chest, and even her right earlobe.
Hess faces a charge of aggravated assault by a public servant. If convicted, he could be sentenced to between five and 99 years in prison. The shooting happened on January 18, 2017. Officers responded to a call regarding a vehicle, which they suggested might have been stolen. Dawes and her boyfriend were sleeping inside when officers confronted them. Officers opened fire after Dawes started moving the vehicle in reverse, bumped a patrol car, drove forward and hit a fence, and finally went in reverse one more time. The boyfriend survived the incident.
You can see body cam footage below. Warning: it depicts a fatal shooting.
In a January 28 motion obtained by Law&Crime, the defense signaled that they will argue that Hess’ “use of deadly force was justified in self-defense, defense of a third person, or as a peace officer making an arrest.” They wanted to introduce evidence that Dawes and her boyfriend were both convicted felons, that the boyfriend had stolen the vehicle and was involved in drug and theft activity, and that a holster and stolen gun were found in the vehicle after the shooting.
Dawes’ mother Mary Dawes sued the city of Dallas and local cops in federal court. The complaint argued that Genevive Dawes believed she had legally purchased the vehicle. At the time officers confronted her, she didn’t know what was going on, or who was in her way, according to the complaint.
[Mugshot via Dallas County Jail]