The Dallas man who caused a massive police response and statewide Amber Alert was only issued a Class C misdemeanor citation.
The Dallas Police Association president says he is not happy with the minor consequences the dad is facing.
Dallas PD says the charge was brought after consulting with the DA's office. Two former prosecutors looked at the law and this case. They say the case has been disposed is within the law and is part of a changing approach to justice across the nation.
Sunday’s frantic search and Amber Alert for 4-year old Fermin Fuentes was triggered by his father lying about the baby being in a car that was stolen.
“This individual knew from the very get-go that that child was not in that car,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata. “But by saying the child was in that car, it created a kidnapping of a child.”
People who were not involved were handcuffed and even detained for a time. Despite what happened, Dallas PD says that after consulting with the Dallas County DA’s Office, a Class C citation was issued to the father for false report regarding a missing child.
Mata feels the father should have faced a higher charge.
“It should have been false alarm or report,” Mata said.
Former prosecutor George Milner agrees with Mata.
“It’s false alarm or report. Mata's correct,” Milner said.
The DA’s office said, "state law dictates when a narrower statute provides for a lesser punishment than a broader statute—a defendant has a due process right to be prosecuted under the narrower statute."
“What they're doing is parsing out the facts to only meet the elements of the lesser charge,” Milner said. “You can do that, but that’s not what the man did.”
Past prosecutor Anthony Farmer is not involved in the case. He says he sees this as an example of what is happening across the country.
“This is an example of a trend in this country which is true criminal justice reform: an emphasis on more heinous offenses versus lesser included and small offenses,” Farmer said.
Mata feels this case should be about the proper charge and not reform.
“My idea is not to put people in jail,” he said. “My idea is we need to hold people accountable.”
There are some consequences. The citation could cost the father as much as $500. Opting for lesser charges means keeping down court costs and people potentially out of jail.
However, Mata feels the consequences for what was caused Sunday night should be greater. He says the Amber Alert should be coveted and not reduced to what he says amounts to crying wolf.