DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas County Precinct 5 Constable is raising some eyebrows over a recent film appearance. It’s a trailer for a music video from a Christian artist known as Harmini. Constable Beth Villarreal and four deputies participated, all volunteers, according to the constable.
“I did consider everything. I considered the scene,” Villarreal said adding, “ I considered the content, I considered the layout of the scene, I considered everything. And I would do that for anyone else that would ask for help.”
Villarreal says if the scene called for derogatory language or images—or had an officer firing a weapon—she would have said “no.” But Harmini — real name Dominic Bonsignore — promised her it involved only a character needing to be arrested. “I did ask him if there was going to be profanity, if there were going to be any derogatory words, comments, statements, or phrases, to which he assured me that there wouldn’t.”
The constable claims she needed no other clearance. “This elected office, like all the other offices, are independent of one another. The decision was mine. And therefore I did allow the guys to take part in it.”
She and the deputies wore what she calls “leisure uniforms” the deputies bought themselves. In the film Dallas County Constable patches can be clearly seen on some shoulders. Their weapons were also personal firearms. The scene was shot behind an East Dallas church a week ago Saturday.
Villarreal says she did lend her expertise to one area of the filming, and that is that she had one of her lieutenants to check all of the weapons here at the scene to make sure they were unloaded. “There was no ammunition in the chamber, there was no ammunition on their body, there were no live rounds or anything.”
Uniformed private security guards and their cars were also also appeared in the trailer. Ironically, Villarreal didn’t make the trailer’s final cut. “This was all for fun,” Villarreal said. “No one was compensated, it’s not to promote any items or products. and there was no promise of being compensated.”
But policeman-turned-lawyer Pete Schulte believes Villarreal should have cleared it with Dallas County Commissioners. “Yeah, some elected officials have some latitude, but on the backside is if they’re using the Dallas County logo and representing themselves from Dallas County, there’s potential for liability if something goes awry on the set.” He’s also not sure how the video will be perceived. “I think it sends out a bad message that they’re donning SWAT uniforms in a music video that may or may not match the beliefs of the people in her district.”
Schulte doesn’t think commissioners can punish Villarreal directly. But they hold the purse strings and could make her job difficult in the next budget cycle if they choose.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says only that he is reviewing the situation. CBS 11 News was unable to reach Harmini for comment.
Villarreal says while she embraces Harmini’s Christian message, she would give the same consideration to any group approaching her.
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