Body camera footage from Paris officer-involved shooting raises questions

Colton ‘Coco’ Carico will never walk again after getting shot in the spine by a Paris police officer. He says he was in crisis. Police say he put them in danger.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 9:22 PM CDT
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WARNING: Explicit and disturbing content. This story and its components are not suitable for all viewers.

PARIS, Texas (KXII) - A June night in Paris, one year ago.

One man paralyzed, one man tased and criminally charged, one officer pulling the trigger.

Now, new body cam footage resurrects old questions.

“The punishment did not fit the crime.”

On June first of last year, this was the scene at Colton “Coco” Carico’s home.

Carico says he was in a mental health crisis after he rolled his truck and got a ride home.

Paris police say they went on a welfare check when they saw property was damaged and they traced the vehicle to him.

“It’s important that these officers are beginning to be trained about how the response to someone who appears to be in a mental health crisis must be different,” said Lee Merritt, Carico’s attorney.

Carico says he was suicidal.

In body cam footage, you can see him point the rifle he is holding under his own chin.

“Instead, he shot me in the spine and now I can’t walk for the rest of my life,” says Carico.

The footage shows Carico turn to go inside and that’s when officer Derek Bristow - identified by Carico - shoots once, hitting Carico in the spine.

The City of Paris issued a statement Monday night, saying “officers feared for their safety” after Carico displayed the rifle, creating “a very clear and present danger.”

“You can’t just shoot someone in the back and either kill them or change their life,” said Cindy, Carico’s mother. She doesn’t want us to use her last name because she says she and her family have been getting threats since they released the bodycam footage on Youtube.

Carico’s family and attorney hope what happened that fateful night in June will start a conversation about mental health that sparks widespread change.

“Criminal felony charges for his actions. The amount of force that he used without proper justification is a crime if any other citizen does it,” said Merritt.

The Texas Rangers found the shooting to be justified in their investigation and a state grand jury also cleared Bristow of any charges in December.

“You have your rights for a reason and he didn’t. He wasn’t allowed his,” said Cindy.

This footage was released by the Carico family after an attorney for Colton’s father, Joey, got it during proceedings for charges he faced from that night.

Just last week, he pled no contest to interfering with public duties and terroristic threat against a public servant and got a deferred sentence.

“It’s so hard. I needed my legs so much. I miss running. I miss walking around, just getting out of bed, you know and standing up,” said Carico.

The City of Paris claims this footage was altered and released what they call the “unedited” version to the public Tuesday. You can see that here.

To view the entire video released by the Carico family on YouTube, click here.

Carico’s representation, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, says they plan to have a third party evaluation of the use of deadly force by the paris police department in this situation as part of their push for criminal charges against Derek Bristow.

A gofundme to help Carico cover medical and accessibility expenses. You can find that here.

Here is the statement released to News 12 by the City of Paris on Monday night:

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