Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot Wednesday requested public help for evidence to support or dispute three incidents of possible police misconduct during a 2020 police brutality demonstration.
Creuzot shared body cam video that Dallas Police provided from other officers on May 30, 2020. It shows protesters who were not posing a threat to officers being struck with non-lethal police ammunition. The videos do not make it clear what officer fired the weapon. So, Creuzot asked other people seen taking pictures at the demonstration to come forward.
“What we're doing is our best to put together what appear to be cases, that do not appear to have any justifications,” Creuzot said.
Two of the body cam videos appear to show demonstrators being injured who have not been identified.
Victim Brandon Saenz has been identified. He lost an eye from being shot by a non-lethal police projectile that day. The officer who fired that weapon at Saenz has not been identified.
Saenz's attorney Daryl Washington said Dallas Police should have been able to identify the responsible officer by now.
“How can you have full trust and confidence in the Dallas Police Department if they can see a wrongdoing committed, if they can see a young man has suffered an egregious injury as Brandon has suffered, and no one comes forward. It's just unfortunate and a very scary day,” Washington said.
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There was violence and looting during some of the 2020 demonstrations but people who said they were peaceful demonstrators claim some of the police response was unjustified.
Attorney Megan Nordyke was arrested at the May 30, 2020 demonstration but charges were dropped.
“There is an issue with police misconduct. There were multiple people injured in those protests,” she said.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said officers were under siege but looters and demonstrators who assaulted officers with rocks and bricks and burned police cars have not been prosecuted.
Mata said the reason Creuzot has been unable to make felony cases against officers is they acted within the law.
Mata said he is sorry about what happened to Saenz.
“I think his injury was by accident, whether he moved after the officers fired, causing the sponge round to hit him in the head, which is very unfortunate. I’m sorry for that. But there was definitely reasons for those officers to act that way, whoever did shoot that,” Mata said.
Washington said Mata’s remarks are irresponsible.
“The thing I would expect Mike Mata to say, the Dallas Police Department should have had answers by now. There is no reason for us to not know who is responsible for Brandon’s injury,” Washington said.
Saenz and Nordyke are among the demonstrators with civil lawsuits pending against Dallas Police over their treatment in the demonstrations.
“We were there exercising our constitutional rights and to equate us with looters is unfair,” Nordyke said.
The District Attorney faces a two-year limit on criminal charges over the May 30, 2020 demonstration so time is of the essence for his investigation.
“We're mindful of the fact that everyone is presumed innocent and we want to do a complete, thorough investigation before we proceed with any possibility of charges,” Creuzot said.
A police sergeant photographed shooting a 2020 demonstrator with a non-lethal weapon at point-blank range was cleared of criminal charges in November by a grand jury. The woman who said she was injured testified before that grand jury.
Megan Nordyke said that case, in which there was evidence and a person willing to testify, leaves her with little confidence these other incidents will result in charges.
Creuzot asked that people with evidence to support or dispute allegations contact his office by email at email@example.com.