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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Today marks one week since a peaceful protest through downtown Dallas ended with a police ambush and the death of five officers.
As investigators work to learn more about the man suspected of the murders and his motive for the shootings, Texas lawmakers are working to make sure there is tough punishment for anyone who threatens members of law enforcement.
This morning the Pentagon is investigating alleged shooter Micah Johnson. Members of the Department of Defense want to know why Johnson was given an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army after he was accused of sexually harassing a fellow soldier.
Johnson, 25, served in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years.
Army spokesman Col. Patrick Seiber says the military is now taking a closer look at all of Johnson’s records. His military-appointed attorney, Bradford Glendening, said Johnson was sent back to Texas from Afghanistan in 2014 with the recommendation that he be kicked out of the Army with an other-than-honorable discharge.
Glendening said he never received the final paperwork detailing how Johnson’s case was resolved and was surprised to learn his client had received an honorable discharge.
“Somebody really screwed,” he said.
Glendening spoke about his former client less than 24 hours after the shooting that happened not far from Dallas City Hall, but he is now under strict orders from the Army not to speak to reporters about the case.
While the discharge actions of the military may be in question, lawmakers here in Texas want to make sure civilian legal punishment against suspects is clear and resolute.
Killing a police officer could soon become a federal crime and the punishment for injuring an officer could be made harsher. Texas senator’s John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are among the lawmakers working to increase the penalties.
Cornyn introduced a bill called “Back the Blue” that would require a mandatory 30-year prison sentence for anyone who kills a police officer or federal judge. It would also mandate a 10-year sentence for anyone convicted for attempting to murder a police officer.
President Obama is also tackling the law enforcement issue in Washington. He’s taking a look at the community aspect of all the tragic shootings across the country and what we can do as a country to improve our relationship with officers.
The President is holding a town hall meeting tonight to focus on race relations, justice, policing and equality. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is among those heading to Washington D.C. to participate in the town hall called “The President & the People: A National Conversation.”
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