Friday, August 21, 2020

Dallas police chief receives lesson on post-#GeorgeFloyd political landscape

The Public Safety Committee at the Dallas City Council this week lambasted the city's first black-woman chief over DPD's 85-page "after action report" following the George Floyd protests, reported the Dallas News. Watch the videos embedded in that story, some of the council members were remarkably angry.

Council members called the report called one-sided and biased, as well as "absolutely disingenuous and not fair." Repeatedly, council members said they'd "lost trust" in her leadership. Ouch! They're not wrong about the report's one-sidedness, but reading it, even those harsh criticisms don't convey the smug, self-satisfied tone of the document. "Oblivious" is the word I'd use to describe it.

The most notable thing about DPD's narrative of events was that it routinely described unnamed protesters engaging in violence or attacking officers in forceful, direct language. But violence by police against protesters was described in the passive voice: just something that happened, not something police did to anybody. The juxtaposition was striking.

Also striking: The "lessons learned" by Dallas PD in the report were largely benign and self congratulating. Well, gosh darn it, I shouldn't have tried quite so hard or cared quite so much.

Add to that, at least two members of the Public Safety Committee said they were personally present at events described and heatedly disputed the report's accounts. Further, council members said episodes of police violence that were widely documented in social-media video were ignored or downplayed, while the account is filled with unverifiable threats (e.g., a protester downtown with a rifle hunting cops) that never came to pass.

My takeaway from this remarkable episode: Chief Renee Hall's "lessons learned" list needs to expand.  Like her counterparts in Austin and Seattle, the political earth moved underneath her feet and she clearly failed to receive the memo.

In a way, I empathize with her. Generations of white male chiefs in Dallas have gotten away with feeding the council and the press a load of horse shit and insisting they eat it. They always have done so before. Now a black woman is chief and they're going to hold her accountable?

But as my octogenarian father likes to say, "Fair is a place where they judge pigs." The George-Floyd protests were a polarizing experience for everyone involved and the DPD report came off as one-sided, defensive, and tone deaf. 

Not very long ago, it would have been enough.


Anonymous said...

Grits, I am doing some “catch up reading” and I have a question from a previous post:
Specifically, “Black Hole of Info Surrounding City Jails”.
You mentioned that “we have no data nor information about who goes in and out, much less inspection reports or compliance dicta, the way we get for county jails.”
• I am reading the Governor’s Executive Order GA-25 (May 22, 2020): It suspends in-person visitations at county and municipal jails in response to COVID-19, but provides exceptions for visitations by an attorney meeting with a client, or a religious leader or member of the clergy.

Question: Do you know how city and county jails are documenting and communicating inmate release and transportation policy as it relates to reducing the risk of spreading the coronal virus infection. Is there a standard policy, temporary order, or form? Or is it the problem between regulated and unregulated facilities you mentioned? Thank you.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@7:12 - For county jails, I'd say direct that question to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. For city jails, there's really nobody who regulates them whatsoever, afaik. Only way to even try to find out would be to ask each one directly under the Public Information Act.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much