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Dallas Police Excessive Force: 16 Officer Involved Shootings in 2012 – Over 1 Each Month and 50% Are Fatal

Police officers are trusted by you and me to carry guns, pistols, stun guns, and other weapons on their bodies as they drive the streets and walk alongside us and our kids because they are doing the job of protecting and serving the public.  So when cops decide to use their weapons to harm or kill citizens without apparent justification or reasonable need, then it may become a matter of illegal and dangerous “excessive force” and it’s something that needs to be stopped.

Excessive force by local law enforcement isn’t news here in Texas, or here in the Dallas area – it’s a reality that we all know is out there, the question really becomes just how bad is the problem here.  Based upon the continued reporting by the Dallas Morning News (no, the source is not news releases from local law enforcement),  excessive force being used by police officers in Dallas, Texas, is pretty commonplace and that is very, very bad for all of us.

Dallas Settled 3 Dallas Police Department Excessive Force Cases in Summer 2012 for Around $1.5 Million

As the numbers rise, the ink isn’t dry on the settlement documentation for the City of Dallas in two excessive force cases where the Dallas City Council approved close to $1 million in settlement to two men seriously injured during their arrests by Dallas police officers. Rodarick Lyles got half a million dollars from the City of Dallas in settlement after he was kicked in the face and sprayed with pepper spray by a Dallas police officer – all after he had been handcuffed and subdued on the ground after a traffic stop.  Lavell Fairbanks also received a cash settlement from the City of Dallas for excessive force by Dallas police officers: Fairbanks was beaten about the head so badly by a flashlight that he suffered permanent brain injuries.

By the way, Andrew Collins also received $500,000 from the City of Dallas in an excessive force settlement the month before these two claims were paid.   You can watch what happened to Collins here – the police beating was caught on the dashcam of one of the Dallas police cars.

Notice that these three cases, where tax dollars of $1.5 million were paid in settlement of excessive force claims against the Dallas Police Department did NOT involve guns.  Shooting people as part of excessive force is a whole different ballgame.

Dallas Morning News Tally Today:  16 Officer Involved Shootings by Dallas Police Department

The local newspaper is keeping track of Dallas police officers using their guns – which is just one part of the excessive force fever that seems to pervade our area.  Today, that tally is at 16 .

Dallas Officer Involved Shooting No. 16:  The Honda in the Parking Lot

Apparently, this week there was a burglar over in the northeast part of Dallas that wasn’t that good at his job because his victim watched as the guy left his house in a Honda.  The victim called the police, and gave them the information including the license plate number of the Honda.  So, the Dallas Police reportedly found this Honda in the parking lot of a local executive suites type of motel and as the Honda tried to drive off, the cops fired their guns at the car.  No one is reporting that this guy had any weapon; there is a report that he rear-ended a parked car in the lot trying to get away from the cops.

According to the police report (quoted in the Dallas Morning News coverage), when a Dallas police officer’s bullet hit the Honda’s door, the suspect surrendered.

Dallas Police Shooting No. 15 – Suspect Was Shot and Injured

Meanwhile, last Friday another Dallas Police Deparment Officer Involved Shooting happened, this one at a home where a man named Roberto Gabaldon had allegedly taken some people hostage inside the house; these were his nephew along with the man’s ex-girlfriend and her baby.  They left the house soon enough, with just this guy inside.

Seems Gabaldon did have a gun, pointed at himself, as he opened the door to the home.  Then the police reports are that he went back inside the house and tried to leave through the garage door in the rear and that two Dallas police officers feared for their lives and shot him because they saw him point their gun at them.

Gabaldon didn’t die, he’s at Baylor being treated for his injuries and KERA News reports he is in stable condition. No news yet on his account of what happened last week.

Dallas Police Officer Shootings – More Than One a Month in 2012

Here in Dallas, the police are using their guns quite a bit: this year we’re seeing a reported average exceeding one a month – and in about half of these cases, people are killed by the guns of Dallas law enforcement.

The Dallas Morning News is covering the story.  Some communities are organizing protests: for example, the killing of James Harper less than two weeks ago in South Dallas is being spotlighted in a protest organized by the Dallas Committee Organizing for Change. (Harper was shot by a Dallas police officer after he ran from a drug house and was fighting with the cop after jumping a fence trying to get away. )

This is a crisis in our community.  Filing excessive force claims is one answer, but it is something that can only occur AFTER the gun has been fired.  And this isn’t including the use of other weapons, like Tasers.  Everyone in Dallas needs to know this is happening and work to stop this shocking abuse of police power in our own backyard.

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