DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas released police records on Wednesday related to a domestic disturbance incident at the home of interim mayor Dwaine Caraway on January 2. The records include a taped interview and notes taken at the scene, which happened after friends left the home following a Dallas Cowboys game.
In the interview, Caraway explains that a “child-like” argument erupted between he and his wife, related to some kitchen aprons that had been thrown away. Caraway said that he did not want the aprons removed, and his wife, State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway, became upset, going into a “fit of rage.”
Caraway said, “When she gets set off, everyone gets out of the way.”
Fearing that the incident was going to escalate, Caraway said that he retreated into a room, using a door to separate himself from his wife. He held his legs against the door and used an arm to brace himself, keeping Barbara from entering the room. The couple continued the argument through the door.
At some point, Caraway explained, his wife ran the blade of a knife through a small crack in the doorway, but he was never struck with the knife or injured in any way. Caraway said that he does not believe that his wife intended to actually hurt him. In fact, nobody was injured during the incident.
Caraway was able to eventually get away from the argument by using a chair to hold the door shut. That is when he called Chief David Brown with the Dallas Police Department. Brown sent investigators to check out the scene, but Caraway said Tuesday that he simply called Brown as a friend and did not want police to be sent over.
While trying to prevent the release of this police record on Tuesday, Caraway called the incident intimate, embarrassing and private. However, State District Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson denied an injunction and a restraining order filed by Caraway to block the release.
Police had recorded their conversation with Caraway when they responded to the incident. One of the police reports filed says that Caraway willingly got into a police car with officers because it was cold that night. That is when the conversation was recorded, but Caraway claims that he did not know about the recording. “The additional statements, not knowing I was being recorded, I would’ve never said,” Caraway explained in the courtroom on Tuesday. “It’s personal to myself and my wife.”
Caraway reiterated this sentiment on Wednesday, after the police records were made public: “I have contended from the start that the recording contains deeply personal and private information. There is no public interest in this information and I have made every effort to protect my family’s privacy,” Caraway said. “But I respect the ruling of the court and it’s time to move on.”
“Only a fool would assume that you have any expectation of privacy inside a police car,” said Board Certified Criminal Attorney Tom Lochry. who added that in Texas it only requires the consent of one person to record a conversation.
The Dallas Police Association insists Caraway received special treatment because of his position. Police officials deny that claim, saying the department’s Special Investigative Unit routinely responds to calls when high-profile individuals are involved.
“It it were anyone else but high-profile public officials, they would be inside Lew Sterrett (Jail) with a book sergeant,” Lochry said.
Lochry says since the 1970’s, when the National Organization for Women demanded that police enforce domestic violence laws, police routinely jail the accused and magistrates implement protective orders.
“We had the illegal restraint of Mr. Caraway pinned in his own game room,” Lochry said, referring to Caraway’s statement that he locked himself in a room in his house to avoid being struck by his wife who was wielding a knife. “We have the use and exhibition of a deadly weapon: a knife.”
Caraway was Mayor Pro Tem at the time of the incident, but replaced Tom Leppert as Mayor after Leppert resigned to run for U.S. Senate. Caraway is not running in the May 14 election to fill the post permanently, but is running for reelection of his council seat.
While testifying in court Tuesday, Caraway said he expects to be easily reelected. “I will win my race with 90 percent of the vote, the people’s vote… it is not what it does to me.”
DFW Airport Board member Betty Culbreath has known Caraway and his wife for years, and says the incident will not hurt either of them politically. “The tape clearly shows this gentleman was concerned about his wife, and he was just genuinely trying to have an intervention.”
But political analyst John Weekley says Caraway hasn’t handled the situation well because the news has dragged out slowly over time, and both Caraways could face pressure to resign, especially Mrs. Caraway. “If there’s no explanation, I think there’s a little of bit of skepticism, well how close do I really want to get to her with my bill or argument on the floor.”
Click here to read the three reports that the Dallas Police Department filed on this incident (PDF file).
We have also posted the recording of the conversation between Caraway and police that took place in the car. The recording contains profanity, and we have posted it without censoring the language. Click here to listen: