Dallas Police Haven't Delivered on Promise to Work with the FBI on Officer-Involved Shootings

Update at 11:20 a.m.DPD and the FBI told The Dallas Morning News the department has been informing the agency of officer-involved shootings:

"They do notify us when there is an officer-involved shooting," Chaumont said. She further confirmed that the bureau had been notified about the Allen shooting.

Cited as evidence in Flanagan's complaint is an email exchange between FBI officials and Stephen Benavides of Dallas Communities Organizing for Change. In the exchange, the officials indicate that they have not been receiving the summaries from the police department as the policy requires.

Chaumont said what happened was a simple misunderstanding. One official had previously headed the local civil rights squad and had left before the policy was fully implemented. The other official had only recently taken over the job and had no knowledge of the policy.

Original post: Clinton Allen's death faded quickly from the headlines. There were a couple follow-up reports on the family's call for Officer Clark Staller, the cop who shot the unarmed 25-year-old in March, to be fired and face criminal charges. But the response was nothing like the near-riot that followed James Harper's death last summer.

Harper's death at a Cedar Crest apartment complex, and the attention it brought, prompted Dallas Police Chief David Brown to announce a handful of policy shifts aimed at limiting the number of officer-involved shootings and better handling the ones that occur. The changes included the formal development of a foot pursuit policy, requiring officers to obtain written or recorded consent before conducting a search, and mandatory Taser training.

See also Dallas Police Chief Announces Policy Shifts After Fallout from James Harper Shooting

The first item on the list was a promise to work with the FBI's civil rights office to review all officer-involved shootings. "This step will help reassure the public that the Dallas Police Department is conducting a detailed and comprehensive investigation and that the findings are based upon facts uncovered by the investigation."

Nine months later, that's still not happening. Dallas Communities Organizing for Change, which has been working to draw attention to the Allen shooting, released documents on Monday showing that that DPD's effort to team up with the FBI never really got off the ground. Also on Monday, representatives of the group accompanied Allen's mother to City Hall to file an ethics complaint against Brown.

The documents were released to the media by Stephen Benavides, a DCOC organizer with a checkered relationship with Dallas police. He was accused of assaulting a cop at an Occupy Dallas protest in 2011, after an off-duty officer shoved him off of a planter. The assault charge was dropped, and he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest.

Among the documents are an email exchange from last week between Benavides and Stephen Kam, the head of the civil rights arm of the FBI's Dallas office. "In consulting with my key personnel, while it was discussed and we would be happy to receive them, we have not yet received any DPD shooting summaries."

Also included are the results of an open records request for internal DPD emails related to efforts to work with the FBI on officer-involved shootings. The results show that the department queried dozens of law enforcement agencies in cities across the country on the FBI's involvement in officer-involved shootings back in September. But that seems to have been the end of it.

We spoke with a DPD spokeswoman Monday afternoon who told us to send our questions via email. We did that but have not yet heard back.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.