Several Dallas police associations are calling for an outside investigation of an incident involving Assistant Police Chief Christina Smith, claiming there are concerns among officers that a cover-up is taking place.
Officers responded to a disturbance call at Smith's home back on February 11.
According to a warrant obtained by our partners at The Dallas Morning News, she and her boyfriend, Matthew Hes, were arguing in the front yard. A neighbor heard them and shouted across the street for Hes to leave Smith alone.
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Hes then allegedly crossed the street and charged at one of the neighbors. He was arrested for assault causing bodily injury and public intoxication.
Smith was not charged with any crime.
She has since been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation -- an investigation that multiple Dallas police associations are now criticizing.
"There is nothing more important than our public trust," said Michael Walton, President of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. "And public trust is where we're at right now. If there's something that went awry with this investigation, how can you have any confidence in any other investigation we might do as a police department."
Tuesday, members of the FOP, the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization held a news conference where they laid out multiple policies they believe the department has violated during the investigation.
They said because this incident involved an assistant chief, one of her superiors should have responded to the scene to oversee the investigation. They told the media that Executive Assistant Chief Cynthia Villarreal was notified of the incident, but never came to the scene -- which left a lower-ranking lieutenant in charge.
They said they were also concerned that Interim Police Chief David Pughes and several high-ranking city officials were not notified until days later.
"The process was circumvented," said George Aranda, President of the Dallas Chapter of NLLEO. "Actions were not taken to place certain individuals on administrative leave or restricted duty up until five days later, when the media started to ask questions about that incident. If it was your typical rank-and-file [officer], we would have been placed on restricted duty or administrative leave with our credentials, badge, gun taken away probably within thirty minutes of that incident. It would have been immediate."
They believe those concerns warrant an outside, independent investigation of the case.
"There has been a stigma in the police deparment that the higher your rank is, the easier it is to get away with misconduct," said Thomas Glover, President of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas. "This is about fairness and what's right. We have to do a complete investigation."
Each of the groups has discussed this request with Pughes. They said they've also reached out to Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax, but have not heard back from him.
In a statement, the Dallas Police Department said:
"The Internal Affairs Division is conducting an investigation into the incident that occurred on February 11, 2017, to include determining if all departmental policies and procedures were followed during the response to this incident.
The Dallas Police Department is committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation and taking the appropriate corrective action on any employee found guilty of any violation based on factual information and evidence.
Interim Chief David Pughes has met with the Employee Associations to ensure them that this will take place."