Ethics Commission Drops Complaint Against Dallas City Council Member

The Dallas Ethics Advisory Commission dismissed a complaint Tuesday morning that was filed against City Council member Philip Kingston over a recent tweet he posted.

On Jan. 13, Kingston wrote:

"I had a City of Dallas van down at the Capitol last week, and I had a daydream about ramming it onto that obelisk by the east entrance and just walking down Congress to the Stephen F. Uh oh. Now I'm really thinking about it."

The obelisk he's referring to is the Hood's Texas Brigade monument, which sits on the Capitol Grounds in Austin. It is topped with a Confederate soldier.

The tweet was part of a thread about the recent removal of a Confederate plaque from the State Capitol -- and specifically, a response to a question about whether state leaders would remove more Confederate symbols from the Capitol Grounds.

Former council member and local activist Sandra Crenshaw saw the tweet and filed an ethics complaint with the city, accusing Kingston of making a threat. 

She insisted she had no personal vendetta against Kingston, but admitted she was displeased with how he and other city leaders have handled discussions about what to do with Confederate monuments in Dallas -- and felt in this case, he was out of line. 

Kingston has been a vocal opponent of the monuments and has pushed for their removal.

During a hearing Tuesday morning, the Ethics Advisory Commission unanimously voted to dismiss the complaint. They noted Kingston's use of the word "daydream" -- and that he posted the tweet long after he returned from Austin.

"I do think that it perhaps was imprudent for a City Council member to send a text like this," said John Rogers, who chairs the commission. "But I don't think that it rises to the level of an ethics violation."

Kingston attended the hearing, but did not speak. He left the room without making any comment.

Crenshaw said she was disappointed. 

"But I'm not surprised," said Crenshaw. "This ethics commission, time and time again -- you would think that they're attorneys for the council people because nothing they can do is wrong."

The full council will receive an updated briefing on the city's Confederate monument plan Wednesday.

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