DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The top law enforcement officer for the City of Dallas faced tough questions from city council members for the first time about the police department’s response to downtown protests that resulted in violence.
Chief Renee Hall’s report has already drawn criticism from the mayor and today she received an earful from the city’s public safety committee.
“We recognize that this exposes some of our challenges but we also recognize that this is an opportunity for us to welcome it. We will always step forward,” said Hall.
After action reports follow critical incidents like the downtown protests during the last weekend of May when they turned violent. It’s 85 pages that detail some glaring errors that put Hall on the hot seat.
“There were many things I was looking for this after action report and I am left with many unmet expectations,” said Dallas’ Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough.
That weekend of protests over the death of George Floyd was like no other for Dallas Police. A third of the force was used to make sure the downtown gathering remained peaceful. But it didn’t and there were accusations of violence from both sides.
Footage from 1,700 body-cam videos are still being analyzed but DPD’s after action report said on that Friday protestors unexpectedly escalated to rioting, looting and destruction of private and public property. And that, according to the report is what led to the use of gas and non lethal bullets.
Department leaders use that reason as well to defend the using both methods, which resulted in numerous lawsuits filed by injured protestors.
The chief defended the department and said she has already implemented changes. But that fell flat with several city council members including McGough who oversees the city’s public safety committee and said it was a failure of leadership.
“Law enforcement leadership did not live up to our end of the partnership and people were hurt, property was damaged and possibly worst of all trust was lost,” said McGough.
The after action report is supposed to provide a quote “roadmap for improvement” after incidents like the downtown protests. But some city council members are raising questions about whether DPD’s current leadership is qualified to lead the department down that road.