Trayvon Martin Case Spurs Call For More PD Oversight In Dallas

dallas trayvon martin rally Trayvon Martin Case Spurs Call For More PD Oversight In Dallas

Trayvon Martin rally at Paul Quinn College in Dallas. (credit: Phyllis Smith/NewsRadio 1080 KRLD)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The controversy over a teen shot in Florida is giving new life to a push for more police oversight in Dallas.

Activists have started working to give a city police review board more power. They are already collecting signatures in an effort to force the initiative onto the ballot in November.

Activists with Dallas Communities Organizing for Change have been collecting signatures on a petition at local rallies for Trayvon Martin.

Martin was killed in a shooting in Sanford, Fla. in February. Police decided not to arrest his shooter, citing his claim of self-defense. Organizers said the Martin case has provided a spark locally for an effort that dates back nearly two years.

“A match to light the fire that was already there,” said Changa Higgins. “A great case to galvanize people and ignite people.”

Dallas already has a Citizens Police Review Board, which has been in place since at least 1989.

The new effort would replace it with something called the Office of the Police Monitor. Organizer Stephen Benavides said if the Martin case had happened in Dallas, the OPM would already be investigating police actions.

The current proposed ordinance would allow the OPM to do independent, concurrent investigations alongside the police department’s internal affairs investigation.

Right now, the board has to wait for the completion of the IA investigation, the final decision on discipline –– if any –– and any grand jury proceedings before it can review a case.

It cannot call in officers to appear before the board, recommend discipline or decide who was right or wrong.

“The officers don’t have to be accountable to the review board to even explain their actions or give them any report is there’s something suspicious,” Benavides said.

The new board could subpoena police, and members would be elected, not appointed by the city council.

The chairman of the current review board, Carl Raines, did not return calls for comment Wednesday. An overview of board functions provided by a city spokesman stated that the current board can make recommendations to the city manager’s office concerning officers that are the subject of a complaint.

It can also agree or disagree with decisions, and subpoena witnesses, other than the officers who sparked a complaint.

Organizers will need 20,000 signatures to force the ordinance to a vote by the November election. They are meeting with civil rights activists Thursday to expand the effort for signatures.

More from Jason Allen

One Comment

  1. Stephen Benavides says:

    The City Spokesman is obviously without the correct information. Reference this link for the actual wording of the Board’s inability to make reccommendations.$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:dallas_tx

    “d) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, the board shall not:

    (1) take any action, nor recommend to or request the city council or any other city authority to take any action, which interferes in any manner with the appointment, removal or discipline of any person by the city manager or any of his subordinates;”

  2. G. Rogers says:

    I am tired of the weeklong coverage concerning Trayvon Martin. What business
    do floks in Dallas or any other city have in this mAtter. The people protesting
    have no knowledge of the facts or evidence. This is just another tool for the civil rights activists to use to make cjhanges in local police force procedures.
    Your station is adding to the disruptiveness of this case by the continous coverage trhis situation. Get off it!!!

    1. CrustyOldGuy says:

      Just the facts that are publicly available. Not a court of law, that’s true, and I wonder if an unbiased jury can be found because of the coverage. As for the “coverage in Dallas or any other city,” I’m sure you believe that the Pledge of Allegiance means something, how can you overlook “. . . one nation . . .” part?

      And those squiggly red lines that appear under some words when you type your comment, they mean the word is misspelled. If you use the right clicker on your mouse, the correct spelling will appear on a drop down list. It’s really helpful.

  3. wasjustified says:

    I’m sick of the whole thing too. Don’t these people have a job or a life for that matter? The news is of nothing BUT this story.

    1. CrustyOldGuy says:

      Nope, retired! And the Kennedy Assassination material is so combed over now, I needed a new source of outrage. Anyway, doesn’t good, even handed police work benefit us all?

    2. altha says:

      If you sorry ass people so tired of it (Trayton Martin case) stop watching television.

  4. unknown says:

    THis is just a racial issue, get over it. The KKK is not allowed, but the NAACP can come in take over because that is allowed. The shooter had the right, except it. You are about to cause a civil war over stupidity. The so called president stepped in to defend his color, just like he said on national tv my muslim faith, what happened to America. We are so overrun with all other cultures ares does not matter anymore. Can’t walk through Walmart and hear english to much Muslims and Hispanics. Give us a break, get an education or a job and leaves us alone!

    1. TheNiteNurse says:

      Unknown, if you really think America is overun with immigrants then have EVERYONE who is a decendant of an immirgrant go home. Then the only people who would be here would be the Native Americans. African Americans did not come here willingly if you are thinking they should go back. Many are decendants of slave owners.
      No one seems to understand that the protesting is over why wasn’t George Zimmerman charged with manslaughter? The shooting wasn’t clear cut. So shouldn’t the courts decide or did someone decide the victim wasn’t white enough to deserve justice?

    2. altha says:

      UnKnown What did your mama and daddy say when the KU KLUX KLAN were riding their horeses through the neighborhood of Blacks making trouble? i’ll tell you UnKnown, they said nothing. Why? because they were blks people and whites making the trouble.

  5. unknown says:

    Well do you have a legal degree, probably not, I do. I was on the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City Bombing Trial I see what the law really hides from the rest of the world. My ancestors came here from England and created the America now that people like you trash and cut down and claim oh, how the white man disgraced, abused and destroyed my ancestors. Get a grip and get a job!

    1. CrustyOldGuy says:

      I was chased out of McLennan county by boys in a pickup truck shouting Klan and racist slogans for helping register minority voters, visceral fear and something that seems to be hidden from the American’s history these days. The KKK is a terrorist organization, the NAACP is not. The Europeans did claim the land through battle and deceit. Disagreements and debate are how the nation has been built by the founding generation.The freedom of the individual not to slave for the tyrannical elite is the ideal. Your vociferous rhetoric speaks more of a paralegal credential than a degree. It is my wish that your waking hours are filled with harmony and simple pleasures, be grateful for what you have.

    2. J. Leslie Thompson says:

      Legal degree?!? Boy, in your first post you don’t know the difference between “except” and “accept” or “ares” and “ours.” Does your keyboarding teacher allow you knuckle heads to get on the web, because taht seems to be a misuse of instructional time to me.

    3. altha says:

      UnKnown reading your comment, you have a lot of “HATE IN YOUR HEART” (how sad). I’m going to tell you what’s going on with you just reading your comments. You are white you have no money and that’s make you VERY BITTER so you lash-out to make yourself FEEL GOOD you are a very sick person you really need help. Because you say you were on the Timothy McVeigh Trail doesn’t make you a Professor of anything GET HELP.

  6. J. Leslie Thompson says:

    Legal degree?!? Boy, in your first post you don’t know the difference between “except” and “accept” or “ares” and “ours.” Does your keyboarding teacher allow you knuckle heads to get on the web, because that seems to be a misuse of instructional time to me.

  7. D says:

    I’m tired of how the media is skewing the facts and influencing perception of the case. For example, Martin was a 17 yr old, not a 12 yr old as portrayed in the photos posted all over the media. Why post Zimmermans booking photo? It only adds to the perception that he is guilty. In addition, both Zimmerman and Martin appear to have questionable ethics and behavior problems. I say appear because at this point we are relying on the media and what they wish to release or embellish on. Zimmerman for assult, Martin for drugs, and alledged other questionable behavior.

    When I first started reading about this case I was outraged, thinking this was bungled by the police. However, after more information came out I stopped and said whoa…. perhaps there is more to this and I should not rush to judgment. Wish everyone would get off the band wagon and wait for the investigations to conclude. Because of all the band wagon activity I find it hard to believe that a fair and un-biased outcome will be possible. Regardless if the investigative team finds George Zimmerman justified or finds he should be arrested and tried. If found justifiable public outrage and possible rioting and other mischief will occur. If found he should receive a trial, public opinion has already tried and convicted him. Where can he find a fair trial?

    Remember how the media and public tried and convicted the Lacross players before the investigation was complete. Come to find out, there was more to it than what the media portrayed. Case eventually dropped. Wonder where the ethics is for reporting accurate information and researching for facts verses hearsay.

    1. CrustyOldGuy says:

      I too wonder if an unbiased jury will hear the case. The difference between Zimmerman and the team of drunken fornicators is that the concerned public can actually hear the 911 call where Zimmerman ignores all reasonable requests by the authorities to wait for the authorities and leaves to force a confrontation with Martin. Really, is that hearsay?

  8. Stephen Benavides says:

    Dallas has a history of allowing public servants off the hook for actions, if otherwise taken by any other resident, would result in serious criminal charges. I think we all understand that major cities with a higher percentage of minorities have both an increased number of reported police misconduct incidents, but also that those incidents primarily involve violence and death for blacks or hispanics.

    There is a history of violence against minorities in this country, and to assume that it is all over now because of the 1960′ Civil Rights Movement is both ignorant and short-sighted. The problem is openly accepted racism, coupled with an institutional culture which allows for police and others to act in this manner, and get away with it.

    The community has a right and a responsibility to respond in a way that will both increase the quality of the police force, while developing a deterrent to future violent incidents between police, and those they seek to serve. The Office of the Police Monitor is completely legal, functional, and will foster a positive relationship within the community, which in the opinion of most, does not exist.

    You can read about the OPM here:

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