DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Brandon Saenz was in the crowd protesting police brutality Saturday afternoon when he says he became a victim of it.
“All I heard was a boom. I got hit,” Saenz said. “I put my hands up, put my hand on my eye, and then I took off running.”
The 26-year-old said he did nothing to provoke being shot with a sponge round, a non-lethal munition, but as a result, attorney say he lost his left eye.
“It’s ironic that a protest about excessive use of force and police brutality, ends with excessive use of force and police brutality,” said Jesuorobo Enobakhare of the Dallas Police Oversight Board.
Protesters have called for the Police Oversight Board to resume regular meetings that stopped during the coronavirus shutdowns.
Next week it will.
On its agenda will be votes on whether to investigate how the Dallas Police Department handles protests as well as an incident that played out Monday night when hundreds of protesters walked onto the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
At least one protester seen being carried away from the scene said she’d been hit and injured by a police “flash bang” grenade while kneeling on the bridge.
Dallas Police Oversight Monitor Tonya McClary, who reports to the board, said her office has seen a surge in complaints in the last two days.
“Our voicemail is almost full. We’re still going through emails. What we’ve been able to get through right now is about 100,” she said.
Some cases, like Saenz’s, have been fast-tracked and are already under investigation.
McClary said some complaints against officers may be tossed out.
Others could lead to discipline.
The most serious cases could result in criminal investigations of officers involved.
She said her office will independently review the department’s decisions and, if it disagrees with any, can launch its own investigation.
She and the board will also likely look at the bigger picture, recommending any policy changes it seems necessary for the Dallas Police Department as a whole.
A hotline has been established for protesters wanting to file complaints against police.
The number is (469) 701-0349.
The board is also asking for photos, videos and first-hand accounts from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge protest.