Schutze

Stuff It

Page 3 of 3

So in this atmosphere--the Legislature thinks it set Dallas straight, but Dallas officials say the Legislature didn't show them nothin'--put yourself in the shoes of Dale Davenport, son of Freddy Davenport and a co-owner of Jim's Car Wash on MLK (one of the misplaced white guys).

Late on the night of June 1, Davenport called 911 and asked police to come do something about a badly behaved drunk man who had wandered onto his property. A Dallas police officer showed up and began the process of writing the drunk person the legally required citation for criminal trespass.

But then, according to Davenport, another police car appeared, this one driven by Senior Corporal Michael Mundy of the Southeast Division. Davenport says Mundy, sitting in his spiffy new patrol car and smoking a cigar, chewed him out royally. Davenport says Mundy told him he needed to take care of crime himself on his property and not be calling the police or talking to state Senator Royce West all the time.

I spoke with Mundy's commanding officer, Lieutenant Michael Holder at Southeast. I asked if Mundy has anything to do with the city's nuisance abatement teams. Holder told me he wasn't really sure what Mundy's duties are, and he'd have to get back to me. He never did.

I spoke with Mundy. He said he wasn't really sure if he had visited Davenport's car wash, but he might have. He said he didn't recall talking to Davenport, but he could have. He said he talks to a lot of business owners.

"I'm just giving them pointers and ideas of the things that they could do," he said. "But I've never chewed anybody out, telling them that they're not doing enough, anything like that."

By the way, I'm not sure whether Corporal Mundy's name is spelled Mundy or Munday, because he declined to tell me the correct spelling. Maybe he wasn't sure.

I spoke with a witness to the conversation, Tiwangi Kyle, owner of a hair salon who was getting her car washed when the encounter took place. She couldn't hear what was said, but she could tell Davenport was taking a dressing-down by the officer.

"As I looked at the officer's face," Kyle told me, "I could tell he was giving him [Davenport] a hard time. You could judge by gestures, facial expressions and everything."

You want to know what I think the message is for Davenport, for Budget Suites, for apartment owners and other legitimate businesses all over town? The message is that Dallas City Hall thinks the Legislature is a yahoo joke. Dallas is going to keep right on doing what it's been doing--holding private businesses responsible, suing them for locating in a city with one of the nation's worst crime rates and then failing to do anything about it.

Because the city can't do anything about its crime problem.

And anybody who thinks different in Dallas is going to have visits from police in nice new cars with big cigars, bringing the kind of message you'd expect from the Mafia.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze