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Feb. 05, 2014
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A police officer who allegedly yelled “we don’t have time for this” before shooting and killing a schizophrenic teen has been indicted on manslaughter charges.
Officer Bryon Vassey was one of three officers from different North Carolina precincts to respond to a call by the family of 18-year-old Keith Vidal last month. The teen, who suffered from schizophrenia and weighed just 90 pounds, had apparently picked up a small screwdriver and wasn’t putting it down. But his parents say the two other officers already had the scene under control when Vassey walked in. They say the third officer simply tased Vidal, then took out a firearm and shot him dead, saying “we don’t have time for this.”
Records show Vassey was at the Vidal residence for just 70 seconds before calling in that shots had been fired, reports the North Carolina Star News.
In the wake of the incident, Vassey was put on paid administrative leave, while the two other officers at the scene were cleared by internal investigation. Outrage spread in Vidal’s North Carolina community, where a “Mental Health Awareness March” was held in his name. Vidal’s parents and sister also showed up outside a press conference about the shooting holding signs demanding justice.
“My word that I want to get out to every family who has a mentally ill patient: Do not call the police department for help,” Vidal’s mother told reporters. “Because your son will probably get shot and killed, just like mine did. Think twice about who you call for help.”
A grand jury has ruled that Vassey be held on a $50,000 bond. He has until Wednesday to surrender.