Dallas Activist Dominique Alexander Sentenced to Prison

He protests: Dominique Alexander.EXPAND
He protests: Dominique Alexander.
Can Turkyilmaz

For nearly two years, Dominique Alexander has been organizing protests in Dallas as the founder of the Next Generation Action Network. Now Alexander is going to prison.

He was sentenced on Friday afternoon to two years for violating his probation on multiple occasions. The most recent violation occurred when he left the state not once but twice without telling his probation officer. 

Alexander has become one of the faces of protest movement, mild as it is in Dallas. He took to the streets with 200 other protesters in late November 2014 when a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, declined to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. They marched through downtown Dallas, shut down Interstate 35E and chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, these racist cops have got to go” in front of Dallas police headquarters after seven of their protesters were arrested.

In July, Alexander joined with the Southern Baptist minister Rev. Jeff Hood to lead another protest through downtown. They gathered to speak out against the killing of Alton Sterling, an armed black man and registered sex offender who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers. But their protest ended with Micah Johnson’s gunfire and five officers dead.

Alexander claims Dallas Police Chief David Brown is partially holding him responsible for the police officers’ deaths. He said he also believes Brown is angered because he refuses to hold protests in a safer place. “He’s absolutely blaming me,” Alexander told the Observer during a visit to his home a day before the sentencing.

He even highlighted the blame in a letter to the court. “In Future, I will train and instruct protestors to remain peaceful and obedience to all lawful requests made by police,” Alexander wrote. “In Future, before any protest, I agree to meet with the police to confirm the exact route of the protest and to work out any possible problems in advance.”

Kim Cole, one of Alexander’s attorneys, said the Dallas police were trying to silence him. “They were very vocal about him getting on their nerves,” she said. “They were tired of him. In some way, they blame him for what happened on July 7.”

Brown couldn’t be reached for comment.

Alexander was first arrested in July 2009 for causing serious bodily injury to a child. Police reported he’d been babysitting his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son for the evening when he called her at 11 p.m. and told her “to get home now.” But he didn’t tell her why. When she arrived, she found her child unresponsive. Alexander told his girlfriend that he’d been watching a movie with her son on the couch. He paused the movie, police reported, and as he walked into the computer room, he heard the sound of her son, who was asleep on the couch, fall off the couch and onto the carpet.

But the doctor disagreed with his statement. He examined Alexander’s girlfriend’s son in the intensive care unit and reported that the child had a subdural hemorrhage between the halves of his brain and at the back of the brain. He also had retinal hemorrhages in both eyes. 

“The severity of his injuries is not consistent with rolling off the couch,” the investigating officer reported the doctor saying. “The injuries are acute and likely occurred around the time that [his girlfriend’s son] started to have symptoms (like being unresponsive.) Without more adequate history of trauma, complainant’s injuries are more consistent with abusive head trauma and child physical abuse.”

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Alexander claimed that he had taken the child to play in a bounce house that evening at Royal Crest Apartments. But he told the Judge Gracie Lewis on Friday that he’d taken the child to play in a bounce house the day before. Yet he never reported the bounce house to the doctor or the investigators at the time.

On Friday afternoon, the prosecutor read two statements that Alexander had signed not long after the incident occurred. In the first statement, he claimed that the child had fallen off the couch. In the second statement, he admitted to shaking the child. He was charged with a first degree felony.

Not long after he was arrested for injury to a child causing severe bodily harm, he got into trouble for forging a check, leading police on a high-speed chase, stealing a car and falsely claiming that a car was stolen.

Alexander brought a couple of character witnesses, but one had only recently met him and the other didn’t know Alexander was on probation.

As she read his sentencing, Judge Lewis told Alexander, “I’ve given you multiple chances.” Alexander will receive credit for his time he has already served in jail. His attorneys believe that he could parole out within six months.


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