This week, a number of citizens told the Dallas City Council not to pass a series of controversial reforms related to the Dallas Citizens Police Review Board.

As previously reported by Texas Scorecardthe City of Dallas and the chief of police have been working with a coalition of leftist organizations to draft proposals increasing the size and scope of the city’s CPRB, including giving it subpoena power and around $1 million in taxpayer funding.

After a series of town halls in January presenting the reforms, voters in Dallas have been rising up against them and have even been stifled in their attempts to speak out in public meetings of the council.

“[U]ntil today, our views had not been presented publicly to our City of Dallas officials,” said Diane Benjamin to Mayor Mike Rawlings and the rest of the council at Wednesday’s council briefing.

Benjamin also referred to the January town halls as “merely superficial overviews lacking substantive information” and called out councilman Adam McGough, chairman of the Public Safety and Justice Committee, for not allowing citizen testimony against the reforms at the committee’s February 11 meeting, despite attendees at the town halls being told they could.

“Thousands of Dallas residents, taxpayers, voters are not participants [in this process], and we’re supposed to be. This is the Citizens Police Review Board.”

“I don’t think that we need to devote one and a half million dollars to fund the further investigation of our police officers,” added Susan Fountain as she asked council members to vote against the reforms. “[Our police officers] are handicapped enough, as it is, to fulfill their duties.”

W.W. “Bill” Caruth III, of the well-known Caruth family that once owned large swathes of land in Dallas, and his wife Minnie also stood up alongside their fellow taxpayers against the reforms.

“Is there no other agency committed to and available for disciplining our police officers and investigating wrongs? I think there are several agencies,” Bill said before listing seven state and local bodies, including the Texas Rangers. “I think there are plenty of agencies investigating the police.”

“I don’t feel the taxpayers of Dallas need to have any more expenses added to us, which we’re already overburdened with,” said Minnie. “When we have competent council persons, our mayor, our chief of police, [and] our Internal Affairs [Department] already being paid to see to it that our officers are already being held responsible for their actions.”

Voters aren’t just going to speak at city council to be heard on this issue. Dallas activist Andrea Mendoza has started an online petition against the reforms and, as of March 22, over 150 people have signed it.

Dallas City Council was to hear and vote on the controversial reforms sometime in March or April of this year. Sources say the vote is now tentatively scheduled for April 24 but is subject to change.

Texas Scorecard will provide updates as they become available.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.