North Texas

Dallas Police Post Officer-Involved Shooting Data

The Dallas Police Department posted online data Tuesday about every police-involved shooting since 2003 as critics questioned the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a white officer for shooting an unarmed black man.

The Dallas information was promised weeks ago in the wake of Missouri violence over the shooting there in August.

The records show Dallas police shot and killed 10 suspects in 2014, wounded two more and shot at five others but missed them.

Dallas Assistant Police Chief Randy Blankenbaker said the web information includes details on how police-involved shootings are investigated.

“And we hope that by putting that process out there it helps people to educate themselves and understand why these shootings sometimes end up the way they do in the criminal justice system,” he said.

Blankenbaker said the public posting is one of many changes in deadly force policy, equipment and training since a near-riot occurred after a controversial 2012 Dallas police shooting.

“We listen to the community, and I believe that our actions prove that we listen to the community,” Blankenbaker said.

The web posting came as citizens staged two protests Friday outside Dallas Police Headquarters to show support for Missouri police shooting victim Michael Brown.

A Missouri grand jury Monday declined to indict the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot Brown.

Around North Texas, many families were having what they call “The Talk” with young black men.

At Mitchell’s Barber Shop in Irving, owner Mitchell Magee has pictures on his mirror of his own kids and the many other young men whose hair he’s cut over the years.

“I pray over mine and I let them know every day to watch out,” Magee said.

“The Talk” is the message many black fathers recall about bad encounters with white police officers.

“The first thing out of his mouth at the car was, ‘Who's car you driving, boy?’” said barber Kelly Harge, recalling a previous incident.

Customer Marcus Pierre said he has been talking with his 10-year-old son about the Missouri situation.

“Understand, going in, as an African-American male, understand you will always be viewed in a certain way,” Pierre said.

Pierre said the lack of any charges for shooting an unarmed black man makes it difficult for African-Americans to accept claims that racism ended with the end of slavery in America.

“Anglos, if you will, say that 'OK, we're equal. You can get past that. That happened generations ago.' But how can I get past that because we continue to have these plights?” Pierre said.

Irving NAACP founder Anthony Bond said the Missouri case requires new dialog.

“The police people in this country, they need to gain a better respect for black people, period,” Bond said.

The men at the barber shop were sad to see images of fires raging in Missouri Monday night but understood why it happened.

“They don’t trust what the police say and reporters say because they’ve been the butt of that injustice for so long,” Harge said.

He said some of his customers feel the need for violence to send a message in North Texas.

“But also there's intelligent people that want to talk about it. We want to talk to our kids. We want to talk to their kids,” he said.

Pierre said it can be a teaching moment.

“These things that happen give us open dialog so we can discuss it and see our differences and be empathetic to the other side,” Pierre said.

The Dallas police shooting data includes a message from Police Chief David Brown, who is African-American, with the following changes he said his department has made since 2012:

  • Notification of the FBI Civil Rights Office at the time of all officer-involved shootings
  • Development of a foot pursuit policy
  • Implementation of a response to resistance report that documents officers’ use of force to overcome resistant suspects
  • Enhanced review of digital video recordings by a specialized unit
  • Improved consensual search policy to require written or video documentation that a citizen voluntarily consented to a search
  • Created a community engagement team with the Community Affairs Unit to respond to community concerns and manage programs that create community trust and engagement
  • Mandated that all officers receive Taser training and maintain their certification
  • Conducted reviews of departments under investigation or consent decree by the Justice Department to understand past failures and determine best practices in the management of officer involved shooting incidents

The police department is also purchasing hundreds of new Tasers to equip every patrol officer with that alternative to the use of deadly force. Plus, hundreds of new shirt cameras are being added to increase the chance video of confrontations will be recorded.

“You’ll see that we are concerned with how we conduct ourselves when we use deadly force, but you’ll also see that it’s important to us that officers are safe,” said Assistant Police Chief Blankenbaker.

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