Union Leader Disputes Corruption Claim

Independent Expert Supports Chief's plan for additional review on Guyger investigation.

The leader of the largest Dallas Police Union Thursday disputed claims of corruption in the Amber Guyger investigation that Chief U. Renee Hall promised Wednesday to investigate.

Fired Dallas Police Officer Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder Wednesday for the shooting of Botham Jean in his apartment last year.

Hall said evidence that surfaced during the trial will receive a Police Internal Affairs investigation.

"I acknowledge that there are things we need to change. There are areas of concern that we need to address," Hall said.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata is the target of one accusation; that he helped Guyger get special treatment at the scene of Jean's shooting.

Mata said a patrol car camera was turned off with Guyger in the car, but only because she was taking a call from a lawyer.

"Any citizen has a right to attorney client privilege. We do not tape that. It's against the law to tape that. So that's why the camera was turned off," Mata said.

Another question centers on text messages to Guyger from Officer Martin Rivera, a member of Mata's union and Guyer's former police partner, who also had a personal relationship with Guyger.

Trial testimony revealed that Rivera deleted text messages he exchanged with Guyger.

Critics have charged it raises questions about Rivera's conduct with evidence in other cases.

Mata said the deleted text messages had nothing to do with the Guyger trial and should have no impact on other cases.

Mata Thursday accused Dallas County prosecutors of fueling a false impression of corruption, which has in turn supported the corruption claims of activists and Jean's family.

"They wanted the narrative that it was flawed, that she got special treatment, that we withheld evidence because that fits a narrative that we're not holding officers accountable. And that's false," Mata said. "There is more oversight on officers than ever before."

Mata said he has received death threats and welcomes the chief's Internal Affairs Review.

"If they have evidence, hard factual evidence that somebody committed a crime, they have a duty to do something about it. But if they don't, they should clear their name. And I want my name cleared," Mata said.

Mata also praised Jean's brother's gesture to hug Guyger and offer forgiveness after Wednesday's sentencing. The union leader said it was a step toward healing.

An independent expert praised the chief's plan to examine the corruption claims.

University of Texas at Dallas Criminal Justice Expert Alex Piquero said citizens need to hear all the facts.

"There are two sides to every story and we can't rush to judgement until we get all of the facts from the Chief," Piquero said. "I think the way the Chief has handled this case is appropriate."

As an outside observer, Piquero gives Dallas credit for recently expanding Civilian Police Oversight. He said he has not seen convincing evidence of corruption in the Guyger case.

"As for major reforms, I don't know the Dallas Police Department needs major reforms. Do they need some reforms? Perhaps," Piquero said.

A spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney's office did not respond Thursday to a request for comment on Mata's accusation.

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