DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall was criticized on social media and by police association leaders on Monday night for a comment she made during a news conference Monday afternoon.
Speaking about two recent homicide cases, Chief Hall said, “There are individuals in this city who have returned from prison who cannot find a job, who are not educated. In those instances those individuals are forced to commit violent acts.”
That statement which suggests that criminal records and lack of education force people to commit violent crimes has outraged many who have heard or read it.
Among those speaking out include the head of the Dallas Police Association, Mike Mata, who tells CBS 11 in a statement:
By saying people who are ex-offenders “choose to commit violent acts” places the blame on the offender but still eludes to their criminal past being an excuse.
The Chief saying that people “forced to commit violent acts” it places the blame on society and makes the offenders the victim. I don’t believe anyone is forced to violently attack another person.
I believe in sentencing guidelines reform and educating violators prior to releasing back into society so they can have the best possible chance of not re-offending but we also have to be accountable for our own actions and never in any way validate an excuse to commit a violent act.
Other police groups like the National Latino Law Enforcement Officers Association also posted a message about the comment.
Chief Hall clarified her comment late Monday night saying, “Today point was simple — there is no excuse for crime. Crime in general however, is on the rise in Dallas for many reasons. One of them being a lack of resources and opportunity. In no way, am I using that as an excuse to commit a crime. However, we have to work together as a community to remain vigilant and pro-active. I’ve asked our pastoral community, as a beginning, to develop ways to teach people how to resolve disputes without violence and find opportunities without resorting to crime.”