The TexasFred Blog
News Opinion Commentary
This is The Header

Dallas officers still seething over funeral procession for Police Chief David Brown’s son

June 27th, 2010 . by TexasFred

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, 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.

Dallas officers still seething over funeral procession for Police Chief David Brown’s son

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.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Bookmark and Share
Return: Top of Home Page

10 Responses to “Dallas officers still seething over funeral procession for Police Chief David Brown’s son”

  1. comment number 1 by: TexasFred

    Report: Police planning protest over escort at Brown Jr. funeral -

  2. comment number 2 by: extex_cop

    I can’t wait until the news Monday morning. I hate to say it…but this may even take top news over the Gulf oil spill. If some higher up heads don’t roll on this…I foresee a bad “Blue Flu Outbreak”.

  3. comment number 3 by: robkuelbs

    I’m not 100% sure if CF Hawn has a minimum posted speed, but if it does, the funeral procession should have broken up and not operated as a procession anyway.

    From the Dallas City Code:


    (a) A motor vehicle escort guide shall not engage in a funeral escort service other than that of escorting a funeral procession, consisting of the hearse and cortege from the funeral home, the home of the deceased, or the home of the deceased’s family to the place of service and from the place of service to the place of interment. If a funeral procession enters a roadway, expressway, or freeway which has a minimum posted speed limit, the motor vehicle escort guide shall cease the escort before the procession enters the roadway, expressway or freeway and resume the escort after the procession exits the roadway, expressway, or freeway.

  4. comment number 4 by: Buzzy

    Heads need to roll.

  5. comment number 5 by: TexasFred

    This was a LIVE report: WFAA News 8 Dallas just now, 10PM from Monika Diaz, the Dallas PD protest for tomorrow is on hold, but not sure how long… The police are going to give Bernal and City Manager Mary Suhm time to respond…

    Officers postpone protest over Brown Jr. funeral escort

    Let’s hope the DPD doesn’t come up gutless…

  6. comment number 6 by: johnko1

    I don’t think DPD is gutless, I think that through communication from either Chief Brown’s office or the City Managers office, word has been given that this issue will be acted on. And I mean acted on with satisfaction. I don’t think that even Chief Brown wants to be associated with the actions of Julian Bernal. Time will tell, but I feel that suitable action will be taken toward Bernal.

    I’ve been out of law enforcement for 23 years, but I’m still outraged over the incident. Not too many things make me this sick to my stomach. The best thing that could happen would be for Bernal to resign for personal reasons and get out of Dodge, far out of Dodge.

  7. comment number 7 by: TexasFred

    I hope you’re right John..

  8. comment number 8 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

    Reasonable time?

    There needs to be a further groundswell with the information going absolutely viral. It’s already on and Law Officer. You should see the comments there.


  9. comment number 9 by: TexasFred

    Dallas police First Assistant Chief Charlie Cato, the department’s second-in-command behind Chief David Brown, was inside the car when a Dallas police deputy chief gave an apparent last-minute order to provide an escort to the funeral procession of Chief Brown’s son.

    Cato has so far declined to comment regarding the decision to order an escort for the funeral procession of David Brown Jr., who died in a Father’s Day shootout after killing Lancaster police Officer Craig Shaw and Jeremy McMillian, an innocent bystander.

    Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, who was in the funeral procession, has said that he issued the order for on-duty assistance to help control traffic because 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 said he did not advise the on-duty officers that the procession was for David Brown Jr. The officers closed exits as the processions moved south along C.F. Hawn Freeway to the cemetery in Pleasant Grove.

    Officers have said that 10 to 12 motorcycles and at least one squad car ended up helping out with the escort.

    Since word about the escort leaked Friday afternoon, the incident has touched off a firestorm among Dallas police officers who viewed the escort as dishonoring the memories of Shaw and McMillian. The incident also has made national news.

    CRIME Blog

  10. comment number 10 by: TexasFred

    As previously stated, I am, at times, privy to some really good emails, and this was sent to me by a source closely connected to the Dallas debacle, a source that will have to remain anonymous.

    What the hell, it’ll probably be in the Dallas Morning News tomorrow…

    To Members of the Dallas Police Department:

    On the day of the funeral for Chief Brown’s son I was Acting Chief of Police. I attended the funeral and was present in the procession to the graveside ceremonies. Deputy Chief Julian Bernal was in the vehicle with me at this time. My impression of the procession was that it was larger than anticipated and quickly exceeded the capacity of the two assigned private escorts. After the procession began in Plano, circumstances began to develop, including intermittent rain, heavy traffic and an accident at Walnut Hill Lane that caused both Chief Bernal and I to become concerned about public safety.

    Chief Bernal and I discussed options to make the procession and public motorists safer. The decision was made to request assistance from motor officers if any were available. I concurred and take responsibility for this decision. The decision to utilize these resources was unplanned and the sole purpose of their presence was to address the immediate public safety issue.

    As police officers, we are required to make daily decisions and be judged by the impact of those decisions. Chief Bernal and I must also be held to this standard. We recognized there might be concerns about our decision. I truly regret and apologize to anyone who has been offended or hurt by this decision. Please know that neither I nor Chief Bernal intended in any way to be disrespectful to any fallen officer. I believe that both he and I have demonstrated our commitment to fallen officers and their families during our careers. Our deepest regret is that our decisions on Friday may detract from the Department’s history in this regard.

    The City Manager has informed me that an investigation will be conducted concerning the actions taken on Friday. I want to assure you that I will fully cooperate with and accept the outcome of this investigation.

    Charles M. Cato
    First Assistant Chief of Police