The Dallas police chief says changes have been made at DPD following a high-profile assault case in Deep Ellum.
Chief Renee Hall says the case in hindsight should have been handled differently. She says she is certain in a case like this that the new Community Police Oversight Board would be the transparent eyes to the public.
Hall says the felony charge against Ldaijohnique Lee, who broke the truck window of Austin Shuffield, was right. She says she should have been more involved, internally and externally, with the case.
The chief admits the case has struck an emotional chord with her as well of the viral video of Shuffield assaulting Lee.
“Let's start with talking about the emotions of the people,” she said. “In law enforcement to see a woman — I’m a woman — get beaten by a man so violently, we're angry. I’m angry.”
Hall says she's as outraged as others at what she saw. But at the end of the day, she says she has to do her police chief job. She says even though Shuffield committed the assault, Lee admitted to breaking windows on his truck.
“He wanted to press charges, and that is our responsibility as law enforcement,” she said. “The day we start picking and choosing which crimes we will and won’t push forward is the day we become the corruption that some police, or some people believe, that the police department is.”
Police charged Lee with a felony because of the amount of damage to Shufflield’s truck, but Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot rejected the case.
“Could we have handled that situation differently from a communication standpoint with the district attorney? Absolutely,” Hall said. “The district attorney and myself should have had a conversation. This was an area where we should have talked personally to make sure we were executing something that he was willing to push forward.”
The chief says the case has prompted internal changes like ensuring that all warrants that will be walked to the DA’s Office will have some continuity in that DPD will ensure that they’re doing things in line and that there's a clear line of communication.
Acutely aware of how the department’s actions with the Deep Ellum case were perceived, Hall says her new Community Police Oversight Board, that the Dallas City Council will vote on later this month, could make a difference in high profile emotionally charged cases.
“If we had that oversight board alongside of us, they would have been able to communicate where our intentions were and where our heart was and not the perception that somehow this was nefarious in its intent,” she said.
Hall says the Community Police Oversight Board, in principle, is a way to build bridges between cops and community and improve relationships she says that have been torn down for years.
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