New Investigation of Police Misconduct Could Threaten Criminal Cases - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

New Investigation of Police Misconduct Could Threaten Criminal Cases

Prosecutors deny ignoring complaints

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    New Investigation of Police Misconduct Could Threaten Criminal Cases

    Facebook posts with accusations from a Dallas criminal defense attorney have sparked an expanded investigation of Dallas Police misconduct by the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. (Published Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018)

    Facebook posts from a Dallas criminal defense attorney have sparked an expanded investigation of police misconduct by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

    The District Attorney’s Office issued a statement confirming two officers have been placed on a no confidence list by prosecutors.

    “Both of the officers alleged to have committed offenses by the defense attorney on her Facebook post were placed on the Brady list once the allegations were substantiated by the District Attorney's Office. That means that the District Attorney's Office will not sponsor their testimony,” the statement said.

    Attorney Deandra Grant Clendenin said she received no response from the DA’s office before posting her concerns on Facebook.

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    “It took my Facebook posts for them to substantiate something? That’s what the public integrity division is supposed to be doing. That is what they’re paid a salary to do,” Clendenin said.

    Clendenin posted a photo of one officer’s 1,300 page internal affairs file which includes accusations of domestic violence and accidental discharge of a stun gun. The other officer is accused of mishandling evidence in another Clendenin post.

    Dallas Police did not respond to requests for information about the officers’ current duty assignments or discipline Thursday. Records indicate no criminal charges against the officers have been sustained in the past.

    Former Public Integrity Prosecutor Heath Harris, now a criminal defense attorney, said it is crucial that compromising information about police officers be shared in court.

    “If there’s something negative about that officer, the jury is entitled to know that,” he said.

    Harris said he has no complaints about the current public integrity unit but he expects those prosecutors to review past cases involving the officers in question now.

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    “Typically they’re going to check all those cases, all the cases those officers have filed. And it doesn’t mean those cases will absolutely be dismissed. It depends on if there’s other independent evidence other than what that officer said to corroborate that the offense took place,” Harris said.

    Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said she only learned about the issues a few days ago. She declined to discuss details of the cases.

    “My office is committed to looking into any kind of charges, any kind of suggestion that something wrong has happened,” Johnson said.

    Johnson said the recent murder trial of a fired Balch Springs officer and the ongoing investigation of a fired Dallas Officer for shooting a man in his own apartment have kept the Public Integrity Prosecutors very busy. But Johnson said that is no excuse.

    “If I have to pull people in to help us with any kind of investigation, we’re going to do that,” Johnson said.

    Late Thursday, Public Integrity Division Chief Jason Hermes said his office was already aware of concerns about the two Dallas officers before the Facebook posts. He said they were already on the so called “Brady List” months ago. But Hermes confirmed additional information from Clendenin has shed new light on concerns about one of the officers.

    Hermes said he could not comment on whether past cases could be in jeopardy because of new scrutiny of those officers.

    Clendenin’s Facebook posts also make accusations about Mesquite officials. But Mesquite Police said Thursday that those issues were investigated years ago by the District Attorney’s office and cleared. Hermes confirmed that the Mesquite officials are not under review by his office now.

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