The following statement is from David Villalobos, Statewide Right2Justice Coordinator of the Texas Organizing Project, in response to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) publicly releasing video Thursday of Dee Dee Hall (formerly LaDamonyon Dewayne Hall), a Black transgender women, dying after experiencing a mental health crisis while in DPD custody:
“First responders failed Dee Dee Hall. This disturbing video only confirms what we have already known for years: that Dallas police officers cannot, and should not, respond to community members experiencing mental health crises, as officers are not equipped or adequately trained to do so.
“If DPD protocols were properly followed, then it is clear that those protocols must be immediately re-evaluated and re-drawn, because the brutal treatment that led to Dee Dee losing her life is wholly unacceptable. Also shameful was paramedics’ callousness and lack of urgency to treat a person evidently in need of medical assistance.
“We grieve with Dee Dee’s family and are working with them as well as community allies, which include In Defense of Black Lives Dallas, Mother’s Against Police Brutality, and Dallas Against Racist and Political Repression, to demand justice, accountability, and concrete policy change in the wake of this completely avoidable loss of life.”
Tearyne Almendariz, a TOP board member in Dallas, added:
“The pervasive societal dehumanization endured by trans people of color – especially Black trans women – is absolutely a factor that led to Dee Dee’s tragic death. It upsettingly helps explain DPD’s and paramedics’ blatant indifference to her wellbeing.
“Dee Dee was clearly in a panicked mental state. She needed and deserved an alternate, far more humane response; instead, DPD officers resorted to putting a spit bag over her head in 90 degree weather and pinning her down for minutes on end.
“Dee Dee was a human being; not a problem to be solved, an eyesore to be removed, or something to be ridiculed. She and so many others would still be with us today had they received on-site attention from mental health professionals or social workers. The criminalization of working-class people experiencing mental health crises must stop. It’s not enough for the City to claim they are expanding programs like RIGHT Care to address these issues; they must be used as first responses.
“We are calling on the Dallas Police Department to recuse themselves from this investigation so that an outside independent entity can conduct one. We also call on the City of Dallas to invest in and utilize community-based solutions, outside of DPD, that provide people with the proper care needed in a mental health crisis.”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris, Bexar, and Fort Bend 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 June 11, 2022.