Police investigating robbery in Oak Lawn

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The latest attack in Oak Lawn happened about 1:45 a.m. today, in the 3300 block of Throckmorton Street, between Hall and Rawlins streets

Another person has been attacked in Oak Lawn, according to Dallas Police Department. As in other assaults, the victim was again attacked from behind.

Police said the victim “had left an establishment and was returning to his car” in the 3300 block of Throckmorton Street — which is the block between Hall and Rawlins streets — at about 1:45 a.m. today (Monday, June 20) when two suspects approached him from behind and knocked him to the ground. The victim told police that the two men immediately began patting down his pockets, and that they didn’t say anything.

When the victim told the attackers that he didn’t have anything for them to steal, they “fled northbound on Rawlins Street.”

Police said the victim was unable to give a description of the suspects because they attacked him from behind.

Anyone with information is asked to call the DPD Robbery Unit at 214-671-3584

Robbery on Throckmorton Street

On June 20, 2016, at approximately 1:45 a.m., the victim was leaving an establishment and returning to his car  in the 3300 block of Throckmorton Street.  As the victim walked past an alley,  two unknown suspects  approached him from behind  and knocked him to the ground. The suspects struck the victim and immediately began to pat down his pockets.  The suspects did not say anything to the victim during the offense. The victim told the suspects that he did not have anything. The suspects fled northbound on Rawlins Street. The victim was not able to make out a race, gender or any description of the suspects due to being assaulted from behind. This is an ongoing investigation. This offense is documented on case number 148758-2016.

If anyone has any information about this offense they are asked to contact the Dallas Police Robbery Unit (214) 671-3584.

—  Tammye Nash

Shots fired near The Brick; no injuries, damage reported

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Dallas police are investigating an incident in which shots were fired near Brick Dallas last night (Friday, June 17) during the nightclub’s Juneteenth celebration, according to a notice on the bar’s Facebook page posted shortly after 7 a.m. today (Saturday, June 18). There were no injuries or damage reported.

“The Brick would like to thank everybody who came out tonight for the Juneteenth celebration. There were some shots fired in the air from a car on Wycliff street tonight. Description of the car was given to the police and they are on top off this. Everything is fine at the Brick; thank you for everyone’s concern.”

In a comment on that post, the bar’s management thanked Dallas police for “being on top of this incident in Oak Lawn.”

In a message to Dallas Voice this morning, the bar’s management added, “Just glad no one was affected from this senseless crime. We had armed security [Friday night] and will tonight [Saturday night] as well. We also do wand checks for weapons and bag checks. We do all we can at the door, but we can’t patrol the streets.”

Brick Dallas is located at 2525 Wycliff.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Cuban donation confirmed

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has released a statement confirming that Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban has, indeed, donated $1 million to the Dallas Police Department to help fund added security measures for the city’s LGBT community in the wake of the Sunday morning massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The money will be earmarked for an estimated 16,000 hours of Dallas police overtime to be utilized at Chief David Brown’s discretion for enhanced counterterrorism efforts, including additional police presence in the Oak Lawn area, the news release said.

 Mayor Rawlings was expected to comment on the donation during the Dallas Pride Month Spirit of Equality Awards Ceremony taking place now at Dallas City Hall. Dallas Voice senior staff writer David Taffet is at that ceremony now and will photos and more as soon as he gets back.

—  Tammye Nash

Cuban donating to DPD for LGBT security

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Mark Cuban

I haven’t seen this confirmed yet, but I just got a message that NBC 5, on its noon newscast, is reporting that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced that he is donating $1 million to the Dallas Police Department to be used for measures to protect Dallas’ LGBT community, in the wake of the massacre Sunday morning, June 12 at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

We’ll post more when we know more.

—  Tammye Nash

Community leaders meet with Police Chief Brown

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Resource Center CEO Cece Cox talks to reporters Tuesday after meeting with Police Chief David Brown, as Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats looks on. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox and a team of six other LGBT community leaders attended a meeting with Dallas Police Chief David Brown this afternoon (Tuesday, May 31) in which the chief “acknowledged that standing up with [anti-LGBT First Baptist Church pastor Robert] Jeffress has harmed the LGBT community,” Cox said.

In mid-April, at a press conference attended by Brown and former Mayor Tom Leppert, Jeffress announced that his church was offering counseling services to Dallas police officers, as well as offering summer camp scholarships — presumably to the First Baptist Chuch camp — to the children of police officers and holding weekly Sunday School classes specifically for officers. The church also honored Brown at an April 17 morning service.

Jeffress is widely known  for his anti-gay sermons and his condemnations of every religion other than his own. The same weekend that Resource Center opened it’s new building, Jeffress made statements declaring transgender-friendly businesses to be a bigger threat than ISIS.

Resource Center officials had asked for a meeting with Brown last week after issuing a statement condemning Jeffress’ anti-trans comments, according to the center’s communications and advocacy manager, Rafael McDonnell. McDonnell said they had received word Saturday that the chief wanted to meet with them, but did not know until about 10 a.m. today that Brown wanted to meet with them this afternoon.

Others attending the meeting were McDonnell, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Association President Patti Fink, Stonewall Democrats President Jay Narey, and Stonewall Democrats board member — and Young Stonewall and Take Back Oak Lawn member — Cannon Brown. City Councilman Adam Medrano was also there.

Cox said about 14 members of Brown’s staff were also present.

Cox said that while “We don’t agree on every single thing that got said today,” she and the other community leaders “felt heard.”

Cox said that while Brown did not agree to “step away” from any association with Jeffress and First Baptist, he did agree to issue a statement acknowledging that he understands how that association could be harmful to the LGBT community.

Cox said Brown told the community leaders that he and the police department as a whole have a responsibility to the entire community, and that it is their job to “ensure everyone has free speech.” He also said that he doesn’t turn down invitations from any segment of the city’s population.

Cox said she and the other community leaders addressed the “18-plus unsolved attacks” that have happened in the Oak Lawn area since last September, and that the chief is committed to solving those crimes, as is the community. The chief and community leaders are also “all committed to continuing the dialog.”

“Oak Lawn has become dangerous in a way it has not been in decades,” Cox said, noting that many community members — for a variety of reasons — are reluctant to report crimes and if they report them, follow through by cooperating with police in the investigation. She said she believes Brown understands that and is committed to addressing those problems.

Cox said Brown acknowledged that the city’s crime rate has been rising, due largely to spikes in crime in Oak Lawn, in domestic violence and in drug-related incidents. He said the police force — which is shrinking in size and is one of the lowest-paid departments in the area — faces a number of barriers in addressing those increases.

“Dallas needs to get with the program and solve some big issues, micro and macro,” Cox said.

Cox said that she and other community leaders are working to find ways to offer resources other than those available through First Baptist, and that Tuesday’s meeting is just the beginning of what needs to be an ongoing dialog.

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Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats, Patti Fink of DGLA and Jay Narey of Stonewall Democrats

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North Texas GLBT Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda speaks to reporters

—  Tammye Nash

‘No refusal’ weekend coming up

Screen shot 2016-03-15 at 3.55.26 PMJust a word of warning for all you folks who will be out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend: Make sure you have a designated driver or that you call a cab or an Uber or a friend …. Do whatever you need to do to keep from getting behind the wheel drunk.

Dallas Police Department will be conducting a “No Refusal DWI Initiative” this coming weekend, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17, and ending at 6 a.m. Monday, March 21. During that 84-hour weekend, anyone stopped for DWI who refuses to voluntarily give a breath and/or blood sample will be served with a search warrant for a blood sample.

Take heed people. Don’t drink and drive — ever.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Murder charges pending against Colbert?

Eiserer TweetDallas police are preparing paperwork to charge Christoper (aka Christian) Colbert with murder in connection with the death of Ronald Shumway, according to a Tweet posted today (Monday, March 14) by WFAA News 8’s Tanya Eiserer.

Dallas police have not yet confirmed the report, telling Dallas Voice, “All the information we have regarding Christopher Colbert has been released on our blog.  If and when more information becomes available, that information will be distributed according and when appropriate to do so.”

Colbert already faces charges of tampering with a governmental record, securing execution of a document by deception and money laundering stemming from last June when he represented himself as Shumway during the sale of Shumway’s home, an Oak Cliff duplex. Shumway had lived in on unit of the duplex and had rented the other unit to Colbert.

Shumway was last seen in April 2015. He apparently resigned his long-time job as a bus driver with DART by email that month, and was believed, based on posts to his Facebook page, to have moved to Austin to live with a boyfriend he had met online. Police began looking for Shumway in September after the new owner of the duplex found human remains wrapped in plastic and buried beneath a slab of concrete in the backyard. When the remains were identified as Shumway last month through DNA testing, the investigation turned toward Colbert.

Colbert was arrested in California earlier this month after a tip from someone who read about the case in Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

Volunteer patrol stops attack

Police volunteer

An attack by these men was stopped by patrol volunteers

Although it’s been quieter in Oak Lawn recently, two attacks took place last week.

This past weekend another attack was prevented by a Dallas Police Volunteer patrol.

The attacks the previous week were not reported to police. In those two cases a couple holding hands was beaten up and a trans woman was attacked and required stitches on her chin.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, John Anderson and Cannon Brown, who are part of the Dallas Police Volunteers patrol in Oak Lawn, decided to cruise the neighborhood from 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Brian Taylor was in the car training with them.

They encountered what Anderson called “three thugs.” One was pulling his shirt up to get gay guys to look at him. When a gay man did look in their direction, the three started yelling “faggot” at them. They pulled bandanas over their faces to hide their identities and headed toward him.

Anderson drove toward the group. Brown shined a flashlight at them and called 911. They ran in separate directions.

“Immediately, police were everywhere chasing them,” Anderson said.

One was caught within the neighborhood. He was a juvenile and released.

“No crime happened, because we stopped it,” Anderson said.

Anderson said neighborhood patrols are effective because people living in the neighborhood often know who belongs and what doesn’t look right even better than police, who may not regularly patrol that beat.

“If we think they’re up to no good, we follow them,” he said.

On the other hand, if someone’s walking to his car alone, they might follow him to make sure he gets there safely.

Anderson said there were only six Oak Lawn patrol volunteers last September. Now, 21 have finished training and are working with police. Since he completed his class and his ride-along training, Anderson’s logged 20 hours patrolling.

“Every time we go out, we’ve called 911 at least once,” Anderson said. “And we’re wanting more people to join.”

Anderson is collecting names of people interesting in joining the volunteer patrol program. If you would like to participate, contact him on his Facebook page.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING NEWS: Jimmie Ray Odom has been found dead

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Jimmie Ray Odom, a gay man missing since Jan. 23, has been found dead, Dallas police reported today

Dallas Police released a statement shortly before 4 p.m. today (Monday, Feb. 22) announcing that a gay man who had been missing since the early morning of Jan. 23 has been found dead.

The statement, posted as an update to an earlier post on the DPD blog, indicated that Odom’s body was found Feb. 11 in at 4700 Lake Ave. in Dallas. A check on Google Maps shows that address to be at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Kings Road, about a block off Maple Avenue, and about two blocks from where he was last seen alive.

Odom, 43, was last seen about 4:30 a.m. on on Jan. 23, running away from a disturbance on the 4700 block of Fairmount Street near Kings Road. Police are investigating his death as an “unexplained death.”

There was no word from police on why they waited 11 days to release the information that he had been found dead. Check back with Dallas Voice for updates as more information becomes available.

—  Tammye Nash

Police respond to response time in hit-and-run

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Holly Mosley on Throckmorton Street after being hit by hit-and-run driver

The question of police response time recently came into question after a driver hit a woman and her dog in the crosswalk at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, paused and then gunned his engine to escape rather than stop and render aid.

Det. Laura Martin said police respond to 911 calls in order of priority. The first priority, she said, are violent crimes in progress. Next are crimes in progress when no violence is involved, usually property crimes.

Police only initiate reports from a “complainant.” That person is the victim of a crime, unless that person is unable to make a police report. Somebody hospitalized and unconscious would be an example of a complainant unable to make a police report. In that case, police will interview witnesses to write a report or report from any available evidence.

The delay in police responding to the hit-and-run was communication, Martin said. While witness Josh Friedman was at Zephyr and would have been able to report the incident, police could only take a report from accident victim Holly Mosley. Friedman, who made the initial 911 call, told the 911 operator Mosley was at the vet with her dog and then needed medical attention herself.

Mosley made a 911 call from the vet, but police, working off the original call, were unsure if she’d still be there or, if she was done there, where she’d be seeking medical attention, so no officer was sent at that time. Martin called that a communication problem without blaming either side.

Martin said if someone wants to report a crime that is not in progress, the complainant should tell the 911 operator their exact location. She advised anyone who needs medical attention, to get that medical treatment first. A police report can be filed later.

Martin made it clear that she was not criticizing Mosley or Friedman. Martin said the calls have been reviewed already to make sure the best service can be provided by 911 operators. Martin thanked Friedman for his concern about getting video of the incident to the police and said that was exactly the partnership  between business and the police that will make Oak Lawn safer. In addition to Friedman’s video, police are reviewing video from the newly installed police camera on Throckmorton at Cedar Springs that should have caught a direct shot of the car.

—  David Taffet