Crisis Intervention Officer Rubens Dalaison Testifies He Never Saw Anthony Point the Gun at Officers
After an emotional Tuesday, which featured opening statements, testimony by Juan Cervantes, and testimony by Charles Thomas, Officer Dalaison approached the stand only 30 minutes before the court’s closing. Immediately, Officer Dalaison seemed to be a different witness than the others, one much more comfortable on the stand.
Attorney Patrick Buelna emphasized this asking Dalaison “is it fair to say you are a professional witness?” The City objected quickly but Mr. Buelna's observation became more and more believable, as Dalaison hunched forward, eager to answer the attorney's questions. He continued with his line of questioning, asking Dalaison “Is it fair to say that you’re the talker?”
Dalaison agreed, explaining his special training as a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Officer. CIT is a program in some police departments that offers training to police officers in situations where a mental health issue is involved. During calls involving a mental health issue, CIT officers are called to increase the chances that both the officers and subjects survive through the encounter. As Dalaison explained, he received a call over the radio, asking for a CIT officer. Dalaison responded to the call, heading to what would later be the murder scene. Dalaison arrived, sealing off Feller Avenue to the north of the house.
After taking cover behind a Suburban, Dalaison began communicating with Anthony, ordering Anthony to put the gun down from his head after Anthony would allegedly lift it towards his (Anthony's) head. As surveillance tapes from the house diagonal from Anthony's house were played, it showed Dalaison with his sidearm pointed at the ground or holstered, indicating that he did not feel that Anthony was a threat to officers at that point.
Moments before the shooting, Dalaison moved behind Officer Vizzusi, who had his AR-15 rifle trained on Anthony, and Officer Raghavan. According to Dalaison, he decided to move from his position behind Raghavan a few feet away to a position behind Vizzusi to act as his spotter. It is after he turned that Dalaison said he heard the shots. The counsel recreated the movement in the courtroom, showing that the “5-10 seconds” that Dalaison had said he had been turned must have been much shorter. However, the surveillance tapes which showed Raghavan, saw Dalaison nowhere to be found, out of camera view. And certainly not behind Raghavan as he had said.
Suddenly, the attorney switched, asking Dalaison if it was true that he fabricated this movement so that he would not have to lie (like the other officers) in saying Anthony was twirling a gun. He told Dalaision that he believed he was “too good” to simply lie about Anthony and simply would say he had not saw what had happened. As the counsel wrapped up questions, he asked Dalaison to talk about the Code of Silence that Dalaison mentioned at his deposition. Dalaison said he did, but then said he had only heard about it from movies and that he was a “man of God” who would not lie about something so serious. With that, they concluded questioning with Dalaison visibly shaken. Cracks had begun to appear in the defendants’ case, as the first police witness showed that he was, in part, allergic to truth.