The following is a statement from David Villalobos, Right2Justice Coordinator for the Texas Organizing Project and participant in the June 1 march on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and TOP member LaPrea Pierce, in response to Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall yesterday announcing her resignation later this year:
David Villalobos said, “TOP called for Chief Hall to resign in June after DPD officers brutalized people who were demanding an end to police brutality by exercising their First Amendment rights. The proof that DPD actions violated people’s rights and further eroded the community’s trust was ample. What was caught on video confirmed a sentiment that had been consistent throughout Hall’s tenure as police chief: community voices that challenged her office to do better by communities of color were unwelcomed.
“The Dallas community’s participation in Uprising protests that poured thousands into our streets over a 100 day period was an unprecedented demonstration that should have been seen by Chief Hall and other city officials as an opportunity to change course. In a meeting TOP had with Chief Hall in early July, where she acknowledged her officers made mistakes in their response to protests, Hall seemed open to identifying areas where the department’s budget could be reduced, and was receptive to the idea of outsourcing some police responsibilities. However, as critical weeks passed, nothing changed. And what this time is proving to us all is that justice can’t wait.”
LaPrea Pierce added, “The community must play a substantial role in determining who will next lead the Dallas Police Department. This means that the city manager and duly-elected city council have an obligation to create meaningful opportunities for our input, not the meaningless political theater that we experienced during the budget town halls. It’s critical that the next chief is willing to share a vision with the community that grasps how decades of over-policing in Dallas has led to the over-incarceration of people of color and is willing to imagine a new and inspired future about what policing can look like.
“We need a police chief who will advocate for narrowing the department’s role, and who sees value in investing in programs that heal, build and sustain communities. This includes investment in mental healthcare, affordable housing, education, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs.”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.
This statement was sent out September 9, 2020.