The Dallas City Council yesterday approved $150,000 in legal fees to defend an ex-cop who shot an unarmed man almost five years ago. The city has now spent more than $700,000 in taxpayer money to fight a civil lawsuit against former Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn.
Then-19-year-old Kelvion Walker was a passenger in what police believed to be a stolen car back in 2013. Dash camera footage shows the incident unfolding:
Police chase the vehicle until the driver, later identified as Reginald Robertson, slows down, jumps out, and runs away. While other officers follow the fleeing driver on foot, Wilburn approaches the car. She pulls out her gun and fires a shot, hitting Walker in the stomach.
Walker was unarmed at the time. He also says his hands were up, a claim that was backed up by a witness. "She gets surprised by Kelvion and pulls her gun and in a split second fires the shot," Wilburn's defense attorney, Robert Rogers, told The Dallas Morning News.
The car, meanwhile, had indeed been stolen. Walker claims he was unaware of that fact, and he has not been charged with a crime. Robertson, though, was sentenced to 14 years behind bars "for aggravated robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle," according to the Morning News.
In the weeks following the shooting, Wilburn was fired from the police force. After being charged with felony aggravated assault, Wilburn pleaded down in May to recklessly firing her gun, a misdeamnor.
Walker, however, has also filed an $8 million federal lawsuit against Wilburn, claiming "grisly disfigurement, and permanent debilitating and humiliating injuries." According to his attorney, he's had to undergo three major surgeries as a result of the shooting.
"It's tough," Walker told CBS DFW. "It's real tough, financially, physically, and mentally."
The suit won't go to trial until February. But the city, which is responsible for defending Wilburn, has already racked up $725,000 in legal bills. That's more than Dallas has ever spent on outside legal fees for a case of officer misconduct, CBS DFW reports.
A spokesperson for the city's Office of Public Affairs and Outreach declined Reason's request for comment. Reason has previously written about how police misconduct costs taxpayers millions of dollars in settlements for civil suits.
This post has been updated to reflect the response Reason received from an Office of Public Affairs and Outreach spokesperson.