Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall spoke candidly about the Amber Guyger trial and its potential impact on the department in a radio interview.
Guyger was transferred early Friday from the Dallas County jail to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to start serving her 10-year prison sentence for the murder of Botham Jean.
Chief Hall promised an internal affairs investigation into the allegations brought up during the trial. She said the department learned many of the facts when the public did because the Texas Rangers — not DPD — handled the shooting. She vowed to continue making the department better to gain the trust of the people officers swear to protect and serve.
In a radio interview with Dallas-based K104, Chief Hall discussed the recent Amber Guyger trial. Hall reiterated that the full facts of the case were not known until the trial because her department did not investigate and bring charges against Guyger.
“So we only did the initial scene response when the shooting happened. And then we turned the case over to the Rangers,” she said. “So we learned about all the incidents during the trial at the trial. So when you guys found out, we did as well.”
DJ Lady Jade asked Chief Hall about Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata talking with Guyger as she sat in a squad car the night of the shooting and instructing a sergeant to turn the in-car camera system off. He then took Guyger out of that car and talked to her.
“In that moment when you’re seeing this, what is going through your mind?” Lady Jade asked Hall. “Are you like, ‘what the hell?!’”
“Absolutely. You can say that,” Hall responded. “We feel the way the community feels. ‘At that point, what is this?’ And then we know that we have some investigating to do."
In a recent interview with FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb, Mike Mata denied any wrongdoing, welcomed an internal affairs investigation and said commanders on scene told him it was an officer-involved shooting.
“She got the same treatment that all officer-involved shootings get,” Mata said in the Thursday interview. “So from that point forward, I handled it just like everyone I'd done before that in those past seven years.”
Hall said as the trial testimony went forward, what they heard was important to what comes next.
“We're taking notes. ‘Here’s what we need to look at.’ We're looking at procedure and all of those things and getting our internal affairs division ready that this is coming to you,” the chief said. “And as the days continue and things continued to come out, we're just making our list and saying this all has to go to internal affairs once we're done.”
But Chief Hall is clear she is not done trying to improve the department.
“Do we do everything correctly? Not always we don’t. And we recognize that” Hall admitted. “The things that we identify, we fix. And the things that the community identifies, we fix.”
When asked if the 10-year prison sentence was not enough and if the courtroom compassion was too much, Chief Hall said who are we to determine that. She said 12 people from different backgrounds came unanimously to a verdict and a sentence.