DALLAS POLICE CHIEF DAVID BROWN SAYS WE ARE ASKING TOO MUCH OF OUR POLICE OFFICERS
David Brown, the Dallas police chief—with his painful past of three family members killed by violence, including a son—is the beating heart at the center of the public discussion. At least for the moment. And he’s wearing that mantle well, and humanely, even if with increasing fatigue.
On Monday, Brown confirmed that he and his family getting death threats following Thursday’s shooting.
He also said in a Monday press conference that the public expects too much of law enforcement. “We want to be superman and superwomen and we’re not. We don’t like to ask for help…. But that’s the number one thing we need…”
Washington Post reporters Brady Dennis, Mark Berman and Elahe Izadi have more on the story.
Here’s a clip:
DALLAS — The police chief here said Monday he feels that law enforcement officers across the country are being asked to take on too much, comments that came as his department was still investigating the mass shooting of Dallas police officers last week and protesters in other cities continued demonstrations against how officers use force.
Even as the Dallas police worked to sift through massive amounts of evidence from the shooting rampage that killed five officers — an effort that entails watching hundreds of hours of videos and conducting scores of interviews — David Brown, the Dallas police chief, said he believes officers in his city and nationwide are under too much strain.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Brown said at a briefing Monday. “We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
During his remarks Monday, Brown also offered a hint of the toll that overseeing the response to such a shooting was taking on him. Brown, who has lived through traumas including his son’s death following the young man’s fatal shooting of an officer, said he was “running on fumes.” The chief also said he and his family “received death threats almost immediately after the shooting.”
“We’re all on edge,” Brown said of police in Dallas. “And we’re being very careful.”
Brown said Monday that in addition to the five officers who were killed, nine others were injured due to the gunfire — two more than police had said before. A total of 13 officers used force against the gunman, Brown said, with 11 of them firing their guns and two of them using the explosive that killed the attacker.
LA RESIDENTS TALK ABOUT DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS HAD WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT LAST WEEK’S SHOOTINGS—IN BATON ROUGE, ST. PAUL AND DALLAS
KPCC’s Larry Mantle decided not to have a guest on for his last segment on Monday so he could ask listeners to call in and talk about the conversations they’d been having about the complex and painful events of the past week.
It’s an interesting cross section of experiences and opinions. You can listen here.
THE FACT THAT CHIEF DAVID BROWN AND THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT WERE DOING SO MUCH RIGHT, INCREASES THE SORROW OVER THE ACTS OF A DISTURBED MASS MURDERER
Much has been written about the successful reform that Dallas Police Chief David Brown had been instituting in the last six years, but we like this version by the Washington Post’s Radley Balko. (We usually like Radley Balko.) Here’s a clip:
As I pointed out in today’s morning links, one particularly unfortunate aspect of the murder of five Dallas police officers Thursday night is that the city’s police department is a national model for community policing. Chief David Brown, who took office in 2010, has implemented a host of policies to improve the department’s relationship with the people it serves, often sticking out his own neck and reputation in the process. At risk of stating the obvious, no sane person would argue that these murders would have been okay if they had occurred in a city with a less community-oriented police department. Nor am I suggesting that the killer or killers represent any legitimate faction of the police reform or racial justice movements. But because Dallas is grieving right now, and the rest of us with it, it’s worth pointing out that in its police department, the city has much for which to be proud. Here are some of the areas where Brown and his administration have made changes:
Use of force
After a series of officer-involved shootings in late 2013, Brown overhauled the department’s lethal-force policies, including a requirement that officers undergo training every two months instead of every two years. The new policies won him a lot of public criticism from police groups and police advocates. He was even criticized by the Dallas Morning News, which accused him of being “reactive” and “moving too quickly.” Brown significantly expanded the data the department gathers on shootings by police, and has set up a team to regularly review that data to identify trends and potential problems. The Dallas PD’s lethal-force policy includes a statement that “protection of human life” is the agency’s primary goal, emphasizes that deadly force should be used with “great restraint,” only “as a last resort,” and requires officers to use all reasonable alternatives before resorting to lethal means. After an incident in which Dallas officers shot and killed a schizophrenic man, the department teamed with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to provide better training for intervening when someone is having a mental health crisis. Moreover, all of the data on the city’s officer-involved shootings is not only available to the public, there’s also a prominent link to the data on the department’s homepage. Brown also seems to understand the important distinction between the cop as warrior and the cop as guardian. And his top aides also seem to understand that when it comes to the harms caused by police militarization, imagery is as important as the gear and how it’s used.
Has it worked? It would appear so. After hitting a high in 2012, officer-involved shootings in the city dropped in each ensuing year. I don’t completely agree with everything Brown has done. In 2013, for example, Brown quietly introduced a policy that allows police officers to wait 72 hours before answering questions about a shooting. I find the research suggesting that a wait time improves an officer’s memory to be lacking. And I’ve seen too many incidents of cops corroborating on a narrative to believe that isn’t how such a wait time would primarily be utilized. But that’s one issue. On the whole, Brown’s record demonstrates that he takes officer-involved shootings very seriously and is implementing policies designed to reduce them — and at times has taken quite a bit of heat for it.
Brown has fired more than 70 Dallas cops since taking office. But he doesn’t just fire bad cops, he also announces the firings — and the reasons for them — on social media…..
DALLAS TRAUMA SURGEON TALKS ABOUT HIS ANGUISH OVER NOT BEING TO SAVE SOME OF THE OFFICERS HE TREATED, ALONG WITH HIS PAIN AS A BLACK MAN
Dr. Brian H. Williams, trauma surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital, who was one of the primary doctors who treated the 12 officers shot by Micah Johnson in Dallas talked on Monday to press about his anguish at being unable to save some of the officers he treated, and the complex emotions he has experienced as a black man about such shootings as those seen recently in Baton Rouge and St. Paul.
A BLACK FORMER POLICE CHIEF TALKS ABOUT DALLAS, & MORE
The Atlantic’s Juleyka Lantigua-Williams interviews retired police chief Donald Grady II who, in his 36 years on the force, served as chief in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among other cities, and trained police forces abroad in managing racial and ethnic strife among the ranks and with civilians.
Here’s a snippet of what Grady talked about:
….rather than talk about things reasonably, logically, we have the police ratcheting up the rhetoric and we’ve got members of the community ratcheting up the rhetoric and that doesn’t resolve any issues at all. It bothers me any time we lose a citizen or we lose a police officer. We have to recognize that police officers are citizens too…”
THE NON-COP MOM VICTIM SHEILDED HER SONS FROM SHOOTER’S BULLETS IN DALLAS, THEN COPS CAME TO SHIELD HER
The LA Times’ Molly Hennessy Fisk has a portrait of one of the two civilian victims of the devastating mass shooting in Dallas. Shetamia Taylor and her sons told about their experiences at a press conference on Sunday, July 10, describing to reporters what happened the night when a gunman killed five police officers and wounded ten others including Taylor.
Here’s a clip:
When the shooting started at the Black Lives Matter protest here last week, Shetamia Taylor shouted at her four sons to run.
“They started running up the block and I was running behind them and I felt the bullet,” she said Sunday.
Taylor, 38, had been shot from behind, in her right calf. Still standing, she looked to a police officer ahead of her, a heavyset, balding white man.
Then he was shot, too.
“I saw him go down. When he got hit, he slumped over and he said ‘He has a gun, run!’ ” she said, recounting the incident from her wheelchair at Baylor Medical Center. She began to sob, covering her face.
It would take hours for Taylor to learn the fate of her sons – ages 12, 14, 15 and 18 – and of the dozen officers shot, five of them fatally, by 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson.[SNIP]
She tried to raise her sons right, instructing them to treat police with respect, but also to call home if they were ever stopped. Taylor admired police but was increasingly disturbed by the growing tally of police shootings involving black men, and feared for her boys. It had been her idea to go to the protest, the family’s first, which she saw announced on Facebook.
After she was shot, Taylor managed to grab her 15-year-old son, Andrew Humphrey, and push him between a car and the curb, shielding him with her body.
“I was just laying on top of him,” she said. “If it was going to happen to one of my sons, it was going to happen to me first.”
She watched police stream up the block toward them — and the shooting. One of them shouted, “Is anybody hit?’”
Andrew yelled no, unaware that his mother was injured.
Taylor didn’t want to alarm him, and called out quietly to one of the officers, “Yes, sir, I’m hit in my leg!”
Police rushed over, most of them white officers, and jumped on top of Taylor and her son. “There was another one at our feet and another one over our head and several of them lying against a wall. And they just stayed there with us,” she said. “I had never seen anything like that before, the way they came around us and guarded us like that.”
Andrew was crying for police to move them, but they said it wasn’t safe.
As they lay on the concrete, pinned down by gunfire, Taylor saw another police officer get struck. She still doesn’t know if the two officers who were shot in front of her lived through the night.
“It was hundreds of rounds,” she said, “shots all around us.”
RAPPER RAISES $50K FOR LITTLE ROCK POLICE OFFICER
The whole thing began when rapper the Game and his oldest son, Harlan, were talking about what made a good cop in their estimation. After the conversation, Harlem began poking around on the web looking for unsung officers who he felt were engaged in the kind of excellent everyday policing they’d been talking about. Of the men and women in blue he found, he was particularly impressed with Little Rock police officer Tommy Norman, a white cop serving a predominantly black community in the Arkansas city.
On his web page, Norman wrote the that the following was his Mission:
“If you can just take two minutes out of the day to go out and make a difference, whether checking on your neighbor if they’re elderly, cutting someone’s grass, or hold the door for someone. It’s really just act of kindness and I think acts of kindness coming from a police officer means that much more to people because that’s not something you’re used to seeing.”
Now, the Game and Harlem are raising $50,000 for Norman— through a GoFundMe campaign.
According to Rolling Stone’s Daniel Kreps whose story . called attention to Game and Harlem’s efforts in officer Norman’s behalf, the “money raised by the GoFundMe will help Norman better contribute to the community he polices, including ‘purchasing and delivering items such as snacks, drinks, and toys for him to keep his trunk stocked for the kids.'”
The Game launched the fundraising effort after he and Snoop Dog and others led a peaceful march to the LAPD headquarters on Friday, and then joined Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti for a press conference.