DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At the Dallas Community Police Oversight Board’s first meeting, Chief Renee Hall called in police backup to respond during some tense moments.
Public comments were not on the agenda, but activists demanded to be heard.
“We don’t get any public comment when this board was created for public comment?” one activist said.
Emotions escalated and people started shouting, pushing and shoving.
“I’m clearing this room,” Chief Hall said. “Can you get me my extraction team?”
Police moved in and eventually tensions began to fizzle. Then comments were taken.
Activists said there’s a lot to discuss since the Dallas City Council voted to expand the powers of the board back in April, giving them a budget and subpoena power except for police officers and city employees.
A monitor position, which is essentially the link between DPD and the board, was created. When it comes to police investigations, the monitor will review completed investigations and pass the findings to the board.
Citizens can complain directly to the board. At the meeting, they voiced some concerns.
“Amber Guyger stood trial and the Dallas Police Department stood trial,” Next Generation Action Network founder Dominique Alexander said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be done and guess what? We’re going to continue to advocate with the administration that this board be a voice.”
A handful of people questioned if certain members of the board really wanted to serve on it.
“Anyone else that says they’re here for their own reasons, we don’t know what those reasons are,” activist Melissa Perry said.
“I’m here for the community,” board member Tami Rodriguez said. “I believe in the rule of law and that’s all laws. Laws the police have to maintain and laws the people have to maintain.”
“If you lose that voice and you don’t represent us, just know that the community will organize,” Alexander said.
Moving forward, board members said they’ll make sure public comments are on meeting agendas.
Chief Hall said her department is focused on fielding trust in the community. “We have no secrets.”
The next Community Police Oversight Board meeting is scheduled for November 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Dallas City Hall.