Police Chief Visits Resident After City Hall Complaint

Chief says there were good reasons for a middle-of-the-night police operation in South Dallas that did net an arrest

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A neighborhood complaint at Dallas City Hall Wednesday about an overnight police operation drew a personal visit from Chief Eddie Garcia.

Resident Willie Mae Coleman said she was awakened from sleep by a crowd of officers outside her home on York Street in the Bertrand neighborhood of South Dallas around 1 a.m. on May 17.

“It was horrible. I thought a war was coming, Bonnie and Clyde was back,” Coleman said.

Her Ring doorbell camera recorded images of the flashing lights outside.

Her next-door neighbor Sophia Wigfall said her husband was treated unfairly by the officers who searched her house.

“He come out with his hands up, they got him, they tackled him, they handcuffed his feet and his hands, brought him in the middle of the street,” Wigfall said.

Coleman went to Wednesday’s Dallas City Council meeting to complain.

“This is going to be a long hot summer. I've been fighting crime for a long time,” she said. “You need to work with us.”

Her appearance brought a personal visit Wednesday from Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

A picture of Garcia and Coleman was posted on social media.

“I want them to know we are here and cooperate with us and have the same feeling for us that you have in other parts of the city,” Coleman said. “You told us to call 911, and we call and we say, ‘We hear gunfire.’ And they say, well ‘What color car is he driving, what’s he got on.’ I say I’m up under the bed, how could I know what he’s driving, we scared to death."

Coleman said Garcia promised to follow up on her concerns and get back to her.

Garcia said he viewed police body camera recordings of the May 17 response.

“I saw a lot of professional officers. Yes, there was police activity that needed to be done,” Garcia said.

In neighbor Sophia Wigfall’s backyard, Garcia said a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter had spotted a suspect who was being pursued by Mesquite Police.  That was the reason for detaining and questioning Wigfall’s husband.

Garcia said the actual suspect was captured and arrested hiding in bushes nearby.

“I certainly understand where their frustration and fear is but unfortunately, our men and women have to do a very difficult job to keep our residents safe and unfortunately this fleeing suspect wanted to go into this neighborhood and that's what brought our officers there,” Garcia.

The new Dallas Police Chief said he will stay in touch with Willie Mae Coleman.

“She was a wonderful woman. I’m looking forward to visiting her again and looking at how we can make her neighborhood safer."

Willie Mae Coleman said she has been in touch with every Dallas police chief over the years about crime issues in her area and she was encouraged by Garcia’s visit.

“It makes me feel that he cares, he understands and maybe he can work it out,” Coleman said.

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