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It's Going to Be Awhile Before We Get DPD's Version of What Happened On the Bridge

Police cornered protesters on Monday night on Margaret Hunt Hill Bridget in a move called kettling.EXPAND
Police cornered protesters on Monday night on Margaret Hunt Hill Bridget in a move called kettling.
Ryan Lochhead

Everyone — the protesters, members of the Dallas City Council and the media — knows what they think happened on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge last Monday night. They experienced it themselves, heard about it from their friends and saw it on video. There are some details that need to get filled in, but the basic contours of that night's protest aren't in dispute. People know what they saw.

Except for the Dallas Police Department.

Monday afternoon, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall again frustrated council members by failing to provide definitive information about her department's actions on the bridge and during the rest of the anti-police violence protests that consumed much of Dallas' central core in the aftermath of George Floyd's death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Multiple members of the City Council asked Hall on Monday when her department would have an "after-action report," or a detailed breakdown of the department's actions during the protests. Over the last week, DPD has admitted using "less-than-lethal" projectiles, smoke and tear gas on Dallas residents.

"Usually what happens is we get through the actual incident itself," Hall told Public Safety Committee Chairman Adam McGough, "which here is multiple days. After that, we have to allow ourselves to get all of that information and then present it to you. Usually (it takes) anywhere from two weeks to 30 days."

Hall said that the department is collecting as much information as it can in the meantime, and might be able to get back the the council earlier with an overview.

"What our concern is is documenting information that is not accurate, so the balance is, do you want it timely, or do you want it accurate?" Hall said. "Information changes based on other video or information that comes in."

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McGough said that he wished DPD would treat each day of the protests as a separate incident.

"Part of my frustrations (at the City Council meeting) Friday night — I understand your answers that you didn't have information and still don't have a lot of it — but that would drive me crazy if I were in your shoes. I would assume the priority that you feel yourself is to figure out the details of each and every one of these moves," McGough said.

The city can't act without timely information from the department, McGough said.

"All of us are getting information from all sorts of different sources and the information I want most of all is what comes from you ... I just don't feel that we're getting that timely enough," he said.

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