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Police Unions Take Opposite Sides In Officer Involved Shooting

A police officer displays his badge. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

A police officer displays his badge. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

LP Phillips, KRLD L.P. Phillips
  L.P. Phillips is an Edward R. Murrow Award winning investigative...
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DALLAS (KRLD) - The decision by Dallas Police Chief David Brown to fire an officer involved in a shooting last month is dividing factions in the department. Brown fired Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn after a disciplinary hearing Dec. 30. Wilburn shot Kelvion Walker, 19, after a car was pulled over in a carjacking investigation. Walker was not armed at the time.

The shooting has led more than 150 members of the Dallas Police Association to write letters complaining of confusion.

“We have been receiving letters from officers questioning when they can use force or questioning the many different policies the chief has enacted that make us less effective and less efficient.” said Ron Pinkston, president Dallas Police Association.

But while the DPA has questioned Brown’s actions, the president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas has come out in support of the chief’s decision. Sgt. Cletus Judge viewed the dashboard camera video that captured the shooting and does not believe Wilburn followed procedure.

“My letter was not necessarily a backing of the chief,” said Judge. “It was a backing of the techniques and the tactics that the Dallas Police utilize.”

Judge, a former police academy training officer, says he only wrote the letter after reviewing the video.

“We make mistakes but once we do we need to own up to our mistakes and say, ‘Hey I did it wrong,'” said Judge.

But his ability to review the video brought another criticism from Pinkston.

“It’s very unprofessional of the Chief to allow someone outside of the investigation to review the dashcam video. It’s still an ongoing investigation of a police shooting.” Pinkston said.

Pinkston had viewed the dashboard camera video at Wilburn’s disciplinary hearing.

Brown declined to be interviewed, but in an e-mail the chief wrote, “Sgt. Judge is assigned to the Crimes Against Persons division as an investigative supervisor.  I allowed detective Pinkston to view the video as well, so I’m not sure I understand the criticism.”

Pinkston plans to take his concerns to Dallas City Hall.

“They hear from us, but they need to hear from the officers.” Pinkston said. “The officers will let them know exactly how they feel.”

Brown has no second thoughts about his decision to fire Wilburn, explaining in an e-mail, “We can’t shoot people who have surrendered to us with their hands up.”

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