As South Dallas Residents Express Frustration at Slow Pace of Rape Inquiry, Police Identify a "Person of Interest"

Not long after police announced that a ninth women had come forward as a victim of a serial rapist prowling South Dallas, and a few hours before they would identify 29-year-old Alan Mason as a person of interest in the assaults, residents packed into a community meeting hosted by Dallas PD at True Lee Missionary Baptist Church.

Speakers expressed frustration about a number of things: the absence of DPD Chief David Brown, whom a representative said was "out of town"; the lack of a composite sketch of the suspect; the overall slowness of the police response.

An 18-year-old woman who takes the bus to work in the wee hours of the morning would have liked a warning about the attacks much sooner--say, back when the first one was reported in June.

"I understand y'all dont have much information but y'all should have handed out fliers," she said.

People pressed the DPD for details on its plan of action. They asked why they hadn't been seeing more police patrolling in the middle of the night, which is when the rapes have taken place. One person said that the police presence still disappears during that time. 

"What we want to know is, can you increase patrols 12 to 6?," a woman asked.

Deputy Chief Michael Coleman said that police officers are there, it's just that no one can see them: "One of the tools that we're using with these guys is plain clothes officers."

There was also the sense that many in the community don't trust the police. Residents told stories about their troubling dealings with the DPD when they tried to report other crimes in year's past.

One woman said that she called the police after her house was broken into, and waited over an hour before an officer showed up.

Another woman, Djuana Franklin, told the packed church that she survived a rape seven years ago in Oak Cliff. Afterward, she waved an officer down and told him what happened. "He said to me, did you give it to him or did you take it?"

Police attempted to ease concerns by saying that the Southeast Patrol Division has "begun saturating the area" with officers in uniform and plain clothes, and that Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott is heading a Sexual Assault Task Force.

The best way to do that is to catch the guy.

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