After Eighth South Dallas Rape, Police Defend Their Delayed Response
Back in March, on the same day that a third Lake Highlands woman was raped in her home in as many weeks, Dallas Police Chief David Brown addressed the media and pledged a swift and comprehensive response. When a serial rapist began targeting South Dallas three months later, it took eight attacks and more than two months for police to brief the public.
It was hard not to make suspect the delay had something to do with the city's north-south divide.
"When it happened in the Lake Highlands community, it was everywhere, all over the news," one woman told WFAA. "But then when it comes to our South Dallas community, it's like they didn't care and didn't want to share the information of what was going on."
Councilman Dwaine Caraway took a similar line in an interview Wednesday with The Dallas Morning News, though he later downplayed the issue of geography.
"Seven. That's a concern," he told CBS 11. "That's not a North Dallas-South Dallas issue. That's a factual issue. Seven versus two."
The situation -- both the fact that a serial rapist remains at large and the delay in notifying the public -- reflects badly on Dallas police, who spent much of Wednesday defending themselves to the media. Chief David Brown in particular made the rounds of local media, explaining what took so long.
"I've looked at this, I've looked at all the details that we knew from the very beginning, and it is absolutely not true that it was differently done in North Dallas," Brown told Fox 4 last night.
Brown explained that the victim of the first rape, which occurred near Fair Park on June 22, "was traumatized and unwilling to give us any information." So, when a second rape occurred nearby eight days later, police were unable to connect the two. It was only after another five rapes were reported in quick succession after a six-week gap that a pattern emerged. That, Brown says, is when DPD took the information to the public.
In multiple interviews, he stressed that he has a keen interest in catching criminals targeting South Dallas.
"My mother lives in this neighborhood, she lives in South Dallas, she lives alone, and so I have a more personal touch on this and so I've taken great pains looking at all the things we've done,'' he said.
Those explanations, nor Brown's pledge to put "all of our investigative tools to try to resolve this issue by bringing this person to justice," are likely to provide much comfort to the residents of South Dallas. At least they now have an idea of what the suspect looks like. According to police, he's a black man, between 25 and 30 years old, somewhere between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 11 inches, and around 200 pounds. He wears oval-shaped, gold-rimmed prescription glasses, a T-shirt and athletic shorts and covers his face in a mask or bandana. He drives a gray sedan, either a Honda Civic or an older Volvo.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.