Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announces his retirement

Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced his retirement today (Thursday, Sept. 1), less than two months after an assassin killed five police officers and wounded five other officers and two civilians.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Brown spoke about each police officer being asked to do more things than any person is capable of doing. He will be remembered by his officers for serenading them with Stevie Wonder lyrics at a memorial service. President Barack Obama, who attended the service with the first lady and the Bidens and the Bushes, told Brown he was glad he met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder.

Brown gave no reason for his retirement from DPD, but talked about the fallen officers in his letter announcing that he is stepping down. A month earlier, Brown attended a rally at Resource Center and spoke to 1,000 people mourning the victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

Brown has served in the Dallas Police Department for 33 years; his retirement is effective Oct. 22.

Chief Brown’s statement on the Dallas Police blog:

After much prayer, I am announcing my retirement from the Dallas Police Department after 33 years as a Dallas police officer.  My retirement will be effective October 22, 2016.

Serving the citizens of Dallas in this noble profession has been both a true honor and a humbling experience.

Thank you to Mayors, City Managers and Dallas City Council members past and present for allowing me to serve. Thank you for the service you have provided for this great city.

I became a Dallas cop in 1983 because of the crack cocaine epidemic’s impact on my neighborhood in Oak Cliff.  I wanted to be part of the solution. Since that time I have taken great pride in knowing that we have always been part of the solution and helped to make Dallas the world class city it is today.

Let’s always remember the fallen officers including the five officers on July 7, 2016, and the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department for their sacrifices to keep Dallas safe.  Their memory will remain with all of us forever.  I know the people of Dallas will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made on the streets of our city that awful night.

Officers, your extraordinary service will forever be etched in my heart and will serve as a guidepost for me in the next phase of my life.  You will always be in my prayers.

I want to thank my family for their love and  support.

This is a difficult decision.  I pray for your understanding and well wishes.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my life, health, and strength.  I pray for His continued blessings over my life.

Thank you Dallas and God bless!!

~Chief David O. Brown

—  David Taffet

Michelle Obama proves Stevie Wonder really is her favorite

_MG_7088At the memorial for Dallas police officers held at the Meyerson on Dallas Police Chief David Brown recited a Stevie Wonder song to hundreds of his police officers who were in the audience.

President Barack Obama, who followed Brown, quipped, “I’m glad I met Michelle first, because she loves Stevie Wonder.”

When Michelle Obama appeared on The Late Late Show’s carpool karaoke, she proved the president was right when she and James Cordon began with Stevie Wonder’s “Signed Sealed Delivered.”

“I know every Stevie song on the planet,” Obama tells Cordon.

Here’s the video that also features the Obama cover of “Single Ladies” and Missy Elliott joining to sing “This Is For My Girls.”

—  David Taffet

Obama, Bush address DPD officers at Meyerson event


President Barack Obama addresses Dallas Police officers at the Meyerson (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke to Dallas police officers and the families of the victims of the ambush that took place on July 7 at the Meyerson Symphony Center this afternoon (Tuesday, July 12).

The Arlington Police Department filled in for Dallas police to provide security around the Meyerson to allow DPD officers to attend.

The Dallas Police Choir was joined on stage by choirs from six church choirs from around the city. They began with a powerful rendition of “Love is Stronger than Hate.”

In addition to state and local officials, governors Jay Nixon of Missouri and Suzanna Martinez of New Mexico attended. Mayors from New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Lewisville and Columbia also flew in for the event.

Mayor Mike Rawlings welcomed the crowd and said they were there to comfort the families of the victims and “to honor those who were wounded, not only in body but soul,” acknowledging how hurt everyone on the police force is.

Police Chief David Brown said earlier today he may require his officers to go through counseling, so that they don’t have to request it.

The Rev. Sheron Patterson of the United Methodist Church of North Texas, Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom and Imam Omar Suleiman on Valley Ranch Islamic Center offered a prayer for unity, healing and peace.

Sen. John Cornyn thanked Rawlings and Brown for the strength they’ve shown since the ambush, calling them men of uncommon courage.

He said Dallas police officers ran toward the bullets, shielded citizens and sacrificed their own lives.

“They put the people of Dallas before themselves,” Cornyn said.

After receiving a standing ovation, Bush said, “Today our nation grieves. Those of us who call Dallas home lost five members of our family.”

He said the Dallas Police Department has been an inspiration for the rest of the country.

“We are grief stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful,” Bush said.

Rawlings introduced DART police chief James Spiller saying, “Leadership is hard. Great leadership is unique. We experienced that leadership from James Spiller.”

As he introduced Brown, whom he called “a rock” and “my friend,” police gave an ovation with whistles and cheers.

When the president stood at the podium, he began with a tribute to each of the officers. Before the event, he met with the wounded and he talked about the son of Shetamia Taylor, who brought her children to the demonstration. Her 12-year-old son told the president he wants to become a Dallas police officer.

“Despite the fact police conduct was the subject of the protest, the men and women of the Dallas Police Department did their jobs,” Obama said.

They posted photos of themselves with demonstrators on social media, he said.

Throughout his speech, the president expressed frustration that he “hugged too many families.”

But he praised the Dallas police who “didn’t flinch and didn’t act recklessly,” and because of their actions, “saved more lives than we will ever know.”

He praised Brown for being at the forefront of improving relations between police and the city and called DPD a national model for the way a police department should be run. But he enumerated the shortcomings.

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” Obama said, echoing frustrations Brown expressed yesterday.

“We refuse to fund drug treatment,” he said. “We flood communities with guns.”

The event closed with the choirs singing “Glory Hallelujah.” When Michelle Obama took Bush’s hand and both began singing along with the choir, the others on stage held hands. That included Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, in whose district the shooting took place, who held hands with Sen. Ted Cruz. Then the entire audience stood, held hands and joined the singing.

Outside, we encountered one protester, a white woman, whose scribbled sign read, “Obama’s a racist.” We weren’t sure if she actually knows what the word means.

More details in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

Funeral services set for three officers killed in ambush

police memorial

The memorial to ambushed police officers set up in front of DPD headquarters on July 9

Funeral services for three of the police officers killed in an ambush in downtown Dallas on July 7 have been set. Details are below.

Westboro Baptist Church announced on its webpage that it plans to be in Dallas to protest during this week. The “church,” listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, usually lists its protest plans here. As of this writing, Dallas is not on the schedule, but organizers want to be ready to shield family members from having to see the group’s hate signs. Members of the DFW Sisters have expressed interest in being angels who block the view of protesters from family.

Funeral services have been set for Lorne B. Ahrens, Michael J. Smith and Brent Thompson. Services for officers Patricio Zamarripa and Michael Krol are pending.





—  David Taffet

Petition to remove Lt. Gov Dan Patrick from office circulates

Rawlings and Patrick

Dan Patrick could only look on as Mayor Rawlings brought the city together

Petitions to remove Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick from office have been circulating, including this latest one on Change.org, posted in response to Patrick’s comments about the ambush of Dallas police officers.

The morning after the Orlando shootings, Patrick posted on his Twitter account, “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

While Patrick claims that tweet was not in response to the massacre or about the victims of the mass murder, he removed the tweet and never apologized to the victims’ families.

After the Dallas police shootings, Patrick blamed the demonstrators and called them hypocrites for running from the gun fire.

“All those protesters last night, they ran the other way, expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them,” Patrick said. “What hypocrites!”

Demonstrators were following police directions when they ran.

Patrick never blamed the shooter for the shooting.

During an event a Thanksgiving Square on Friday, just hours after the murder of five officers, Patrick attended but was not invited to speak. Instead, he stood directly behind each of the speakers who appealed for a sense of unity in the city.

—  David Taffet

Palant to lead musical concert of healing

Jonathan Palant

Jonathan Palant

A free concert of healing takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St.

Singers from around the area will participate in a massed choir performance led by Credo, a community choir conducted by former Turtle Creek Chorale artistic director Jonathan Palant.

“We have invited members of every church, synagogue and community choir in the Metroplex to join us not only in singing out against violence, but also to sing out for peace, love, and unity,” Palant said. “The Dallas Police Choir has also been extended an invitation to perform.”

Singers from the Dallas Symphony Chorus, Turtle Creek Chorale, Dallas Independent School District, Cathedral of Hope, Temple Shalom and from many churches plan to perform, Palant said. The concert will include appearances by local opera star Ava Pine and area favorites Denise Lee, Paul Mason and Liz Mikel.

Several speakers, both religious and lay leaders, will offer thoughts and words of encouragement.

Singers who would like to participate should enter the Meyerson through the glass doors on Flora Street by 5:30 p.m. and follow signage toward the stage. There is no pre-registration. Sheet music will be distributed at the start of rehearsal. There is no charge to sing and all singers are welcome. Attire for performers is business casual.

No tickets or reservations. Tickets are open seating.

—  David Taffet

Shooter identified


DART officer Brent Thompson

Dallas police identified the shooter killed in the El Centro parking garage as Micah X. Johnson.

Police said he told negotiators he wanted “to kill white people, especially white officers.” He was not affiliated with any group or terrorist organization, but angry about recent police shootings in other cities, as far as police know at this point in the investigation. He was in the Army Reserves as a junior officer.

Of all police departments in major U.S. cities, DPD has the lowest rate of officer-involved shootings.

No information has been released about the DPD officers who were killed and injured, but DART has given out names of their officers shot and information about the officer killed.

The three DART officers who were shot and are expected to recover from their injuries are Omar Cannon, 44, Misty McBride, 32, and Jesus Retana, 39.

The officer killed, Brent Thompson, 43, was married two weeks ago. His wife, Emily, is also a DART officer and was not on duty last night.

People will gather at Thanksgiving Square at noon for a service to remember the slain officers.

—  David Taffet

Streets closed downtown, 12th officer reported shot

downtown mapIf you work downtown, you are asked to stay home. Streets in downtown Dallas closed include a 25-square block area — everything from Houston to Griffin streets and Ross Avenue to Jackson Street. No traffic will be allowed until further notice.

A 12th officer and a second civilian was reported shot. The death toll remains at five.

Chief Brown corrected information reported overnight. The suspect that died in the El Centro parking garage died as a result of the bomb squad robot detonating a bomb near him.

According to Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell, one of the DART officers injured worked for partner benefits with his husband in 2013 when DART was resisting covering gay and lesbian officers equally with straight officers.

LGBT Police liaison Laura Martin was assigned to the demonstration. She worked throughout the night and will be back at work a little later this morning, but she reports she is safe.

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Robert Moore’s photos get national attention


Former Dallas Voice owner/publisher Robert Moore spent about two hours last Thursday night, July 7, crouched behind a car with a Dallas Police officer as a sniper with a semi-automatic rifle rained gunfire down on officers and civilians after a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest.

We published Moore’s early account of the experience here (you can read it below, too). By Friday, photos Moore took during those two hours — the one above and three others below — had gone viral, catching the attention of media around the world.

Here’s what Moore told Dallas Voice senior news writer David Taffet on Thursday:

Former Dallas Voice Publisher Robert Moore was at the demonstration. He said he saw the shots fired and saw one of the officers go down.
Moore said he scrambled behind a car. Officers were shouting, “He’s elevated. He’s elevated.”
Along with two officers, Moore said he moved to the other side of the car. He remained crouched behind the car with two officers on one side and an officer with an automatic weapon on the other. While most people were on the perimeter, Moore was trapped in the middle with police.
Tactical officers and armored vehicles showed up on the scene. Officers began looking for bombs, which they suspected the shooters might have left as well.
Moore said he was trapped for about two hours, until they were cleared and he could leave the scene.

Robert.2 Robert.3 Robert.4


—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Man initially thought to be a suspect has been released


Mark Hughes has been released and no longer appears to be a suspect in the shootings in downtown Dallas

Mark Hughes, the man in the photo released Thursday evening as a possible suspect in the shooting that happened in downtown Dallas, has been released and is no longer believed to have been involved.

Mark Hughes is the brother of, Cory Hughes, one of the men who organized the peaceful protest. Cory Hughes has said that Mark, who was carrying an assault rifle, was demonstrating his right to carry a firearm. Immediately after the shootings, Cory got Mark to turn the gun over to police to avoid any problems. That happened before police released the photo of Mark, wearing camo and carrying a rifle.

After police released that photo and asked the public to help find him, Mark Hughes turned himself into police. He has now been released and no longer appears to be a suspect in the shooting.

—  Tammye Nash