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Officer accused of firing gun in squad car in drunken incident

On dash cam recording, Officer Zachary Helm asks Officer Kelly Beemer, "Are you insane?" as he beat on the squad car in apparent frustration

By Tanya Eiserer
The Dallas Morning News

A Dallas police officer faces a faces a misdemeanor charge of discharging a weapon after she fired a revolver in a squad car during a drunken off-duty incident.

Officer Kelly Beemer, 27, has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

"I am extremely disappointed by Officer Beemer's conduct and the actions she took during this incident," Police Chief David Brown said in a prepared statement. "The recklessness she displayed is unacceptable conduct for a Dallas police officer."

Her attorney, Haakon Donnelly, declined to comment.

About 11 p.m. Wednesday, Beemer was at Lee Harvey's bar in South Dallas, where she had been drinking. Her friends decided she shouldn't drive herself home, police said.

An off-duty officer at the bar offered to give Beemer a ride home, but authorities said she wouldn't tell the officer where she lived. She got out of that officer's vehicle and tried to hide, authorities said.

Two on-duty patrol officers, Miguel Jamaica and Zachary Helm, came to the bar to help get Beemer under control, police said. Helm had been dating Beemer, police said.

An in-car video camera from Helm's squad car shows what happened next: Helm and Jamaica walked a staggering and apparently incoherent Beemer to Helm's car. They placed her in the back seat.

"Oh my God," a distraught Beemer says repeatedly. "I can't believe you would do this to me. I thought better of you."

About 11:20 p.m., as Helm approached the intersection of Gaston Avenue and Abrams Road, Beemer began demanding that he stop the squad car. She tried to open the door.

"I swear you need to stop now," she said just before pulling a revolver from her ankle holster and firing into the floorboard. Helm jumped out of the vehicle, demanding repeatedly that she drop the gun.

Helm and another off-duty officer who had been following in his personal vehicle then disarmed her.

On the recording, Helm asked Beemer, "Are you insane?" as he beat on the squad car and cried out in apparent frustration.

Neither Beemer nor Helm was injured.

Brown said Helm and Jamaica made a "good faith effort to assist a fellow officer" but should have arrested her for public intoxication once it became clear she was a danger to herself and others.

"The officers were trying to do the right thing but did it in the wrong way," he said.

Jamaica and Helm have been placed on restricted duty.

In a separate incident about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Charles Jeffers, 30, was accused of pushing a former girlfriend down a flight of stairs at her home in the 5100 block of Willow Lane in northwest Dallas.

The 41-year-old woman told police that Jeffers "became irate and shoved her," causing her to fall backward down a flight of stairs. The woman, who had no visible injuries, left the apartment and called police.

Jeffers has been place on administrative leave while police investigate.

Copyright 2010 The Dallas Morning News

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