Decision to use on-duty officers for funeral procession of David Brown Jr. spurs outrage
This incident happened yesterday afternoon, Friday, June 25, 2010. Citizens of this area are, to say the least, outraged! Police officers are outraged! In fact, outrage may not be a strong enough term. Read the story from The Dallas Morning News, and then give a listen to the MP3 recording of Chris Krok of radio station KLIF 570 AM here in the Dallas area as he goes BALLISTIC on the Dallas PD and City Manager Mary Suhm. Chris is very right in doing so I believe!
A cop-killer who is the son of the Dallas police chief continued to stir deep emotions Friday as he headed to his grave.
An apparent last-minute decision by a deputy police chief to provide assistance during part of David Brown Jr.’s funeral procession angered some police associations. The city manager quickly issued a written statement distancing herself and Chief David Brown from the decision.
“This was not a planned event nor a full honor escort,” according to the statement issued late Friday afternoon evening by Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm. “The action will be fully investigated and may lead to disciplinary action.”
Officers said the assistance included 10 to 12 motorcycles and at least one squad car.
David Brown Jr., who killed Lancaster police Officer Craig Shaw and an innocent bystander June 20 before being shot by other officers, was buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Dallas.
Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, who oversees the traffic unit, said that as the funeral procession was headed to the cemetery, the private motorcycle escort was having trouble keeping up.
He said other motorists were zipping past the slow-moving line of cars and weaving in and out of the procession to try to exit Central Expressway. He also said an accident at Walnut Hill Lane added to the problems.
Bernal, who was in the funeral procession, said he then ordered on-duty assistance to help control traffic.
“It was dangerous, and it was a matter of public safety,” Bernal said.
He said officers, mostly on motorcycles, met up with the procession on Central Expressway at Mockingbird Lane and traveled with the procession the rest of the way to the cemetery.
The officers shut down exits as the processions moved along C.F. Hawn Freeway.
He said he did not tell the officers they were responding to help with the funeral procession for Brown.
Bernal’s decision set off a firestorm within the Dallas Police Department, with police associations representing rank-and-file officers condemning the decision.
“It was bad judgment,” said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association. “It’s repulsive. It embarrasses the entire Dallas Police Department.”
White said escorts are rarely, if ever, provided for private funerals. He called upon Bernal to resign.
Bernal met with police associations and the widow of a slain Dallas police officer Friday evening to explain his actions, but officers remained angry.
Earlier, Mike Walton, president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police, said, “I apologize to the Shaw family for dishonoring their husband’s memory and taking the full attention away from them by us escorting that procession.
“Chief Bernal made a serious judgment error by allowing that to happen because we as police officers understand the significance of a fallen officer.”
Suhm’s statement Friday evening said the decision to ask for assistance for the procession was made without her knowledge or approval “and contrary to [her] specific instructions.”
“This action was also conducted without Chief David Brown’s knowledge,” Suhm stated.
Bernal said he knew his decision would be controversial.
“I want to take full responsibility. I made the decision to do it, and this was absolutely not planned,” Bernal said. “I did it out of respect for my chief and for a family who had lost somebody.”
As he left the police association’s headquarters Friday evening, Bernal said he had no regrets about the decision he made. Regarding Suhm’s statement, he said, “I welcome an investigation.”
Asked whether he would resign, “Absolutely not. I have no reason to.”
(Note: This is an updated version of this blog item. The original version was posted at 6:09 p.m.)
Chris Krok goes OFF here:
Folks, this is a travesty! The very fact that Dallas PD was involved, in ANY way, with the escort of this COP KILLER and his procession is totally unacceptable!