DALLAS - The fallout continues after a meeting for the Dallas community police oversight board turned into chaos.
The oversight board's first meeting on Tuesday ended without public comment. Some activists are now calling for some members of the board to resign.
The uproar started over not allowing public comment. The city says that was only because it was their first meeting and they had not established procedure yet. But another major issue was previous comments made by board members questioning the purpose of police oversight.
The literal pushing and shoving at Dallas' first meeting of the community police oversight board Tuesday night between activists and police happened after the meeting adjourned and people did not get a chance to speak during public comment.
Changa Higgins was the first to voice frustration.
“What you saw at that meeting is really symbolic of where Dallas is when it comes to policing,” he said. “I would say things were messy. They were a little chaotic. But they were necessary.”
After the confrontation, their voices were heard. Most of them condemned previous comments made by at least two board members who were questioning the purpose of the board.
Janice Coffee said she didn't know if she believed in it. Tami Brown Rodriguez, at one point, suggested it should be disbanded after taking issue with funding and fiscal accountability. She now says she supports the board after funding changes. Activists called for their resignations.
“If that's the way you feel about it, then you probably shouldn't serve on this board because this board has a unique mission,” Higgins said. “It's not like the parks board. It's not like the zoning board. It was created to remedy problems that were happening between the police department and marginalized communities.”
Rodriguez released a statement on Wednesday saying she has no intention of resigning and now fully supports the purpose of the board. She added: “If everyone has the exact same opinion, what is the purpose of a committee? If we get into the rut of ‘us against them’ instead of ‘we,’ nothing evolves."
Councilman Chad West commented Wednesday on behalf of Coffee, saying he will not ask her to resign from his district's spot on the board. He added: "She shared that she can be fair and push forward the mission of the board."
Ten of the 15 board positions are holdover positions or vacant. It's up to city council members and the mayor to appoint them. The board could look a lot different if new appointments are made before next month's meeting.
The next meeting is at Dallas City Hall on Nov. 12. There will be public comment at that meeting.