Attorney calls for Justice Department investigation of Dallas police
DALLAS — In October, Bobby Bennett, a mentally ill man, was shot by Dallas police while standing still.
David Blair, who was unarmed and had committed no crime, was shot at 14 times by a Dallas officer in a separate incident in October.
Most recently, 19-year-old Kelvion Walker was shot while sitting in a car on Monday. He, too, was unarmed.
Attorney Daryl Kevin Washington is suing the Dallas Police Department in the death of Clinton Allen, who also was unarmed, this past March.
“I don’t know how many unarmed individuals are going to have to be killed before someone intervenes,” Washington said.
Dallas police say Allen was choking an officer. The officer was cleared in the case. But, Washington has joined civil rights activists in calling for a Justice Department investigation into all Dallas Police Department shootings.
“I think we are going to have to have the Department of Justice come in, and just like they did in Miami and just like they did in New Orleans, somehow get some kind of consent decree,” Washington said.
In several major cities, including New Orleans, the Justice Department has forced the police department to follow a consent decree after finding a pattern of use of excessive force.
In a consent decree, the Justice Department monitors until changes are made.
Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway said that is premature, but did say he has concerns.
“I think it’s getting to a point now or it has gotten to the point where we are going to have to bunker down and ask some tough questions about police training and get a better understanding of it,” Caraway said.
Dallas police have fired some officers and arrested others in connection with some of the shootings, but some community activists say that’s not enough. They want bigger changes.
The Dallas Police Department said statistics on officer-involved shootings are not readily available and declined to release any numbers.
The department was investigated by the Justice Department in the 1980s after a series of shootings and excessive force allegations.