DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One day after Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced changes to the department’s use of force policy, complaints are pouring in.
DPD officers say they are concerned about inconsistency with the policy and how it is being interpreted.
The Dallas Police Association has collected thick binders, filled with hundreds of letters from concerned DPD officers. Page after page spells out worry on one particular hot button issue: the deadly force policy.
“How it’s interpreted has been interpreted in different ways and that’s the problem,” said Ron Pinkston, the Dallas Police Association president.
One day after Chief Brown announced changes to the use of force policy, DPA members packed their headquarters to voice their displeasure. Cameras weren’t allowed in the meeting, but Pinkston explained officers are afraid to take action on the streets out of fear of being suspended or fired.
“If you have a deadly force policy, and how it is interpreted…if it’s not clad iron and you don’t know what’s going to happen if you do get into a deadly force policy you can’t go out there and serve the citizens,” explained Pinkston.
The use of deadly force was most recently called into question just last month. On December 9, Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn was caught on camera shooting a 19-year-old carjacking suspect. The teen was unarmed and a witness told police the teen had both hands in the air.
DPD released dashcam video of the incident today.
An internal police investigation found Wilburn, a 12-year veteran, violated policy “for firing her weapon upon an unarmed person without fear or justification.” She was fired weeks later.
The Dallas Police Association says who is determine what “fear is, and they say their police chief isn’t listening to their concerns. So they invited other city and state leaders to their meeting today.
“They don’t want a knee jerk reaction every time something happens. Let’s change the policy,” said Dallas City Councilman Rick Callahan, who attended the meeting. “They’re trying to do their jobs, but they feel like they’re handicapped in doing their jobs. I think its up to the public safety committee to sit down very quickly and review those polices and make sure we’re all on the same page.”
The Dallas Police Association says it will continue to push for a clearer deadly force policy that protects officers.
Meanwhile, this afternoon the attorney for the teen who was shot in the video says it vindicates his client. The 19 year old has filed a lawsuit claiming Wilburn used excessive force.
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