SWAT Team Reassigned the Night of the Dallas Police Ambush

Former members of the Dallas Police Department SWAT unit are questioning decisions made ahead of the July 7, 2016, ambush saying had they been there, five officers might not have died.

The SWAT team was pulled off the protest hours before the event, a move that cost them valuable time responding when shots rang out.

Sr. Cpl. Matt Banes was on the SWAT team at the time.

He says the team was initially assigned to the protest but was reassigned hours beforehand and told to work their beats instead.

"Not even with the goal of making arrests — just being present, being visible to the public," Banes explained.

Banes says he was two miles away from El Centro College when the "officer down" call came across the radio.

He rushed to the scene and was among the team of highly skilled SWAT officers who took down the shooter after an hours-long stand off.

Banes received the Dallas Police Department's Medal of Honor for his bravery, the highest award given to an officer.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done," he said.

Banes says he feels the police department did its due diligence vetting activists to determine the threat level of the protest was low.

He says he disagrees with the decision to reassign SWAT and wonders if the death toll would have been different that day if SWAT was on standby.

"I don't think he [the shooter] would have killed five officers because we would have had over-watch," Banes said.

"If we were there, we would have had react team, we would've had response team ready, and we would have had snipers on the rooftops. And he would have never made it into that building," he said.

Banes says he doesn't blame anyone at the department for what happened.

The shooter turned out to be a lone wolf who was not a part of the protest.

NBC 5 contacted the Dallas Police Department about the decision to reassign SWAT, but they have not responded to our questions.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said now that the investigation into that fateful night is complete, he will begin looking into what could have been done differently that day.

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