Saturday, November 13, 2004

Dallas Council's Sheetrock Apology Not Enough

The Dallas City Council formally apologized (registration required for Dallas News) Wednesday to the victims of the "sheetrock scandal," where Dallas PD, using a handful of highly paid confidential informants, set up more than two dozen innocent people using fake drugs. (The fake substance was initially thought by authorities to be ground up sheetrock, though it turned out to be pool chalk -- both made of gypsum.)

The council's resolution regretted that the "system designed to fight a war on drugs was subverted so that innocent people became its casualties," and called for "good faith" efforts to settle the pending civil suit. Councilmember Elba Garcia said the vote "shows that we are ready to move forward and make sure that this never happens again," but I'm not so sure.

Two Dallas officers have been suspended and face state criminal charges. But the Dallas News reported (2-26-02) that eight DPD officers, in addition to the two who were suspended, reported false positives on field tests for drugs. In other words, though DPD would like to blame the confidential informants or just two bad cops, eight other officers apparently falsified evidence
in order to "corroborate" the confidential informant's lies.

All those officers are still working for Dallas PD, and to my knowledge haven't even been disciplined for their role in this shameful masquerade.

How can the city be "ready to move forward" when it has not rid itself of the malignancy of lying cops that caused the miscarriage of justice? Settle the civil suit, certainly, and while you're at it don't be chincy. But the Dallas City Council shouldn't make the mistake of believing the problem is behind them, or that it will "never happen again," when most of those perpetrating the fraud are being protected instead of prosecuted.

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