Dallas officers still seething over funeral procession for Police Chief David Brown’s son
The virulent eruption surrounding the decision to order an apparent last-minute escort Friday for the funeral procession of a cop-killer, who is the son of Dallas’ police chief, shows no sign of abating.
Since word leaked Friday afternoon about the order made by Dallas police Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, I have been inundated by outraged phone calls, emails and text messages from current and retired Dallas police officers.
The general sentiment is that it dishonored the memory of slain Lancaster police Officer Craig Shaw and the innocent bystander who were killed by Brown Jr. in a Father’s Day shootout.
On Undergroundcop.com, a private message board for Dallas police officers, they are saying that a protest march is being scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday in front of Police Headquarters. There is also word on the the site that a meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Dallas Police Association’s Headquarters, and that City Manager Mary Suhm is invited.
In my eight years of covering the Dallas Police Department, I have never witnessed officers more upset about a decision made by a member of the command staff. Even officers that I would normally consider mild-mannered and even-keeled are up in arms.
“While I feel for Chief Brown, this is the first time … that I felt ashamed to put on the uniform,” one veteran supervisor wrote in a text message. “I kept thinking of all those across the country who have grieved an officer killed in the line of duty.”
The story has even gone national with my original blog post even getting a mention on the Drudge Report. That post already has generated more than 550 comments, and the number keeps climbing. Many of those have opposed Bernal’s decision.
“I am DPD and I am ashamed,” one commenter wrote.
Here’s the reason for their visceral reaction: Historically, escorts have been reserved for officers who die in the line of duty, deceased officers, families of police officers and other dignitaries. In other words, it’s for someone who dies under honorable circumstances.
That’s why they see it is as such an unpardonable sin that a cop-killer would receive what they consider a high honor.
They aren’t accepting explanations from Bernal that this was a matter of public safety.
One police association president said that’s because officers know that funeral processions come down Dallas’ busy highways every day and rarely, if ever, receive any kind of help when they encounter traffic snarls.
Officers have said that 10 to 12 motorcycles and at least one squad car ended up helping out with the Brown Jr. escort.
What’s more, officers want to know if anyone else from the command staff — including second-in-command First Assistant Chief Charlie Cato and Chief Brown himself — were aware of what was happening as the procession proceeded down Central Expressway to C.F. Hawn Freeway and then to the cemetery in Pleasant Grove?
And they want to know if other command staff members were aware, did they make any attempt to put a stop to it? And if not, were they OK with Bernal’s decision?
Already, Suhm has put out a statement distancing herself and Chief Brown from the incident, and promising a full inquiry, and perhaps discipline.
The head of the Dallas Police Association has called for the resignation of Bernal who said he sees no reason to step aside. The president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police also has condemned the decision by Bernal, who is currently an acting assistant chief.
Clearly, there is more to come on this firestorm.
There is a firestorm in the making. The protest march scheduled for 8 A.M. Monday in front of Dallas Police Headquarters will be interesting to say the least.
I also know that the outrage is NOT limited to just the Dallas Police Officers. I have friends and contacts in all aspects of Law Enforcement, and the outrage is spread out pretty well through the entire brotherhood!
I hope the Dallas officers can get the support they need. I hope they can accomplish their goals. I hope they don’t become victims of retribution from vengeful Chiefs that are NOT going to have their authority questioned.