Sedgwick County Kansas District Attorney Marc Bennett releases body cam footage of Officer Dexter Betts shooting a 9-year-old girl in the face while trying to shoot a dog
Betts was responding to a mental health crisis when the incident occurred
Body cam video shows Betts fire at the dog twice
Both shots missed the girl causing shrapnel to hit the girl in the face
Almost six months after Wichita Police Officer Dexter Betts accidentally shot a 9-year-old girl in the face while trying to shoot a dog—a 35- to 40-pound miniature English bull terrier named Chevy—inside a home during a welfare check on the girl’s father, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett released body cam footage of the incident.
The shooting occurred on December 30, 2017, just two days after WPD Officer Justin Rapp shot and killed Andrew Finch after a “swatting” call. Danielle Maples called 911 for a mental crisis with her 33-year-old husband. The couple waited outside for police to respond. After responding, without order Betts went inside the house to secure a firearm.
It was while he was inside the house that Betts shot twice at Chevy. Both shots missed the dog, which sent shrapnel into the girl’s eye as she sat on the floor.
On the body cam footage, Betts is seen entering the residence, where the little girl is sitting on the floor watching TV. Betts walks through the residence, then returns to the living room where he is heard saying “Ok, we got a dog inside here, too.”
Right after, Betts is heard yelling “Whoa! Whoa!” The camera shows Chevy moving between Betts and the girl then barking. Betts immediately fires two shots, and the girl is heard yelling, “Ow! Ow! Ow, you hurt my eye! Ow! Ow!”
The video was released upon the request of The Wichita Eagle. The Eagle notes that it is rare for body camera footage from the WPD to be released. In the past, the Eagle has been involved with lawsuits over body cam footage.
It’s rare for body camera footage from Wichita police to be released. The Eagle sued the city after it denied requests to release body camera video that shows an Iraqi American family being detained at a Wichita bank in September and footage connected to a hit-and-run crash that allegedly involved an off-duty Wichita police officer who had been drinking.
Bennett released the video after parts of it were shown in court. Once evidence is used in court it becomes part of public record. Betts is currently on trial for a felony aggravated battery charge that resulted from the girl’s injuries.
Betts has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney Jess Hoeme claims the former officer “acknowledged the danger” of a dog attack. Bennett states that is not the case and Betts acted recklessly with no concern for the girl’s life. Betts is believed to be the first WPD officer charged following an on-duty shooting in the last two decades.