Selective Blindness Leads to 3 Deaths in Dallas

David Brown Jr., son of Dallas Police Chief David Brown, “shot and killed 23-year-old neighbor Jeremy McMillian, then Lancaster police officer Craig Shaw before police killed him” but that’s the end of the story and the rest of the story is leaching out slowly.  Back in early May…  Yeah, weeks ago…  There was a request for a warrant for this shooter’s arrest pending for about 6 weeks prior to this shooting.  “The warrant stemmed from a May 7 incident when Brown Jr.'s girlfriend, Misti Conaway, complained that her boyfriend punched her 10-year-old son in the face.

David Brown Jr., had a minor criminal record, pleading no contest to misdemeanor delivery of marijuana in 2004 after originally being charged with a felony...  Misty Conaway, called Lancaster police to their apartment Sunday morning, seven hours before the shootings... She said Brown was having ‘a psychotic breakdown’ and had hit her, local media reported. Conaway didn't file a formal complaint, but she and her children were taken to the police station.

Lancaster Police Chief Keith Humphrey said there was nothing his officers could have done differently when they responded to a domestic disturbance call from the younger Brown's girlfriend at an apartment complex Sunday, seven hours before the slaying of Lancaster police officer Craig Shaw and a bystander…  Conaway told police that Brown Jr. was having a "psychotic breakdown" and was bipolar, but those conditions can't be the basis for an arrest, Humphrey said.  "It's not against the law to be crazy," he said. "It's not against the law to be psychotic. You have to see behavior that goes with it, and we didn't see that."

You didn’t SEE that but it was indeed reported that day and another act of violence against a child was reported some 6 weeks earlier.  There was sufficient fear of danger acknowledged that the girlfriend and her children were removed from harm’s way.  The problem is that left everyone else at risk of violence from the then frustrated Brown Jr.

There is SO much that could have been done for him in the weeks before this and probably in the YEARS before this; SO much that might have prevented these senseless deaths.  No it isn’t illegal to be crazy and we should have much better ways for people to reach out for help but, all too often, it is an act of violence that police respond to that brings the mental illness to light as a BIG problem.  There’s just no excuse for officers not knowing how to deal with the mentally ill and there’s no excuse for letting the mentally ill harm others by making excuses for not arresting the mentally ill who commit violence against others.  I will never understand the reasoning where officers find it “OK” to shoot someone dead to prevent them from shooting themselves while refusing to arrest someone who’s mentally ill for assault.

The blame lies squarely with the shooter but there’s plenty of responsibility to go around on this one.

The chief said in an interview earlier this year that he was proud of the way his son, also a father, grew after a 2003 incident where he was arrested on suspicion of selling marijuana.”  It seems rather obvious that the Dallas Police Chief had blinders on about his son.

Someone didn’t get that warrant request timely processed through they system.

Art. 14.03. AUTHORITY OF PEACE OFFICERS.  (a)  Any peace officer may arrest, without warrant:

  • (2)  persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to another person and the peace officer has probable cause to believe that there is danger of further bodily injury to that person;
  • (3)  persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense defined by Section 25.07, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order), or by Section 38.112, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order issued on basis of sexual assault), if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer;
  • (4)  persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense involving family violence;
  • (6)  a person who makes a statement to the peace officer that would be admissible against the person under Article 38.21 and establishes probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony.

The girlfriend reported an assault and, if there wasn’t risk of further bodily injury, there wouldn’t have been much reason to remove the girlfriend and kids so subsection 2 likely applied.  I don’t care that she didn’t file a complaint since officers routinely arrest people when someone alleges assault and do so without a formal complaint.  The one exception seems to be domestic violence and I fully understand why they feel that way but HERE is the reason they should change that; one of your own may end up being the ultimate victim.

Sure looks like subsection 4 applied.  Officers talked to him for half an hour that morning.  Did he admit to committing ANY offense against her that would have made subsection 6 applicable?

Why the girlfriend stayed after the May incident is beyond me but that warrant should have been processed and someone should have been seeking a protective order on behalf of the child.  If she wants to stay, she’s an adult and that’s on her.  The kid is entitled to better than that after an outcry.  Then subsection 3 would have applied.

I think Lancaster PD could have arrested him that morning and I think they all need to own that instead of “I stand by my officers. I can't second-guess.”  Yes, Chief Humphrey, you CAN second-guess your officers and it’s actually your JOB to do just that to prevent the spiral of mistakes becoming bigger and bigger until someone dies.  All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing; that good men “stand by”.  Well, it seems you’ve already stood by until one of your own died.  Now the question is whether or not you will “stand by” until another member of the brotherhood dies.  Will you continue that selective blindness or take those blinders off?

Lancaster PD is not at all alone in responsibility but it certainly needs to take a major portion of the responsibility for these 3 senseless deaths that it could very probably have prevented.

Just as you judge others by “the company they keep”, you too are judged by the acts of other officers and law enforcement collectively.  Put your own houses in order.  Seriously, we outnumber you 1800 to 1.  Work with us, not against us.  When you don't do it right, you are not only violating our rights but endangering your own.

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