Mayor Caraway Loses Legal Battle to Bury Police Recordings Made at His Home In January

Categories: City Hall, Schutze
Leppert_Caraway2_Merten.jpg
Sam Merten
Arthur and Archie did it.

At 8 p.m., after a marathon hearing, Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson shot down Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway's request for an injunction barring the release of an audio recording Dallas Police officers made at his home on January 2, when cops showed up to to investigate an altercation between the mayor and his wife, state Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway.

In the course of a very long day of testimony, the mayor seemed to throw everyone at City Hall under the bus -- the former mayor, the city manager, the police chief, the city attorney -- all of whom he said had conspired against him.

"Another win for the high-dollar people," he said in the corridor outside the courtroom. But in the end it was Arthur and Archie who did him in. They're the two friends the mayor cited in a confabulation he gave to reporters, telling them there had been no domestic incident at his house that night, just two rowdy guys without last names who got into a rhubarb over a football game.

That story was his undoing. Everybody else at City Hall and in the police department who touched this mess seems to have done their jobs.

Between the lines in all the testimony and legal arguments Tuesday, a rough approximation emerged of what really went down at City Hall. Caraway testified that there was an all-male football-watching party that night in a downstairs game-room at his house and that things got rowdy.

"Here's a bunch of guys, a bunch of folks," the mayor said, "and we not necessarily trashed out the game room, but a lot of stuff was going on."

Caraway said after his guests left at the end of the game, his wife became angry about the party. "Tensions escalated," he said, "but not physically."

Caraway insisted he never struck his wife -- something he said he never had done in his life. In fact, the picture he painted was of himself cowering behind a closed door in the game room with his wife raising a serious rumpus on the other side of the door -- serious enough that he was calling some of his football friends and asking them to come back. It's not clear whether any did.

But Caraway said he placed more than half a dozen calls that night asking for help, one to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. He insisted under oath that he did not ask Brown to send police. In fact, Caraway testified, he asked Brown not to send officers. Sources very close to this thing tell me that's probably true. But by calling Brown, reporting an incident with his wife and then asking Brown not to respond, Caraway had put the chief in a bad spot.

The law requires the police to respond to reports of domestic violence, to go eyeball everybody, especially the women, and find out what really happened. My sources tell me Brown also received advice from within the department that Caraway could be setting him up, trying to establish a record of having made a report without making a report.

Whatever. The cops didn't buy it. They rolled. And when they got to Caraway, they recorded everything he said without telling him.

After talking to his wife, the police wrote it up as a minor incident, meaning they were called and found no crime. It would have remained only that, but for Arthur and Archie.

Some days after the incident, reporters got their hands on the minor incident report, which called it a domestic violence call and made no mention of the bad boys. The reporters confronted Caraway and asked why the police report made no mention of Arthur and Archie and called it a domestic matter.

In sticking to his story, Caraway made it look as if the police department either got it all wrong or was in cahoots with him in covering something up.

In court today, Caraway told a dramatic tale of being called in Austin, where he was attending his wife's swearing-in for the new legislative session. Told of an emergency at City Hall, he rushed back to Dallas.

Arriving at City Hall at 8 p.m., Caraway said he found then-Mayor Tom Leppert, City Manager Mary Suhm, City Attorney Tom Perkins and Chief Brown waiting for him in a conference room. On the table was a CD with the recording of the police interview, something Caraway said he had no idea existed before that moment.

Caraway testified they not only told him he had to speak at council the next day and tell the truth, but that they wrote his speech for him.

Caraway was obviously angry this afternoon about Leppert's role, complaining to reporters that Leppert should not have been allowed to listen to the tape before he was. Of course, as party to the incident, Caraway really wasn't entitled to hear the tape at all. He was also bitter Tuesday, on the stand and in the corridor, that Chief Brown had sent officers and that the officers had made the tape.

Asked why he called Brown at all -- why he called him in the first place -- Caraway said to the Observer, "Who would Leppert have called? Who would Perot call? Give me a break."

When news media, including the Observer, sought release of the tape under the Texas Public Information Act, City Attorney Perkins asked the Texas Attorney General for an opinion. When the AG said the tape should be released, Perkins said he would not appeal the opinion and would release it immediately.

Caraway went to court to appeal the AG's opinion, trying to persuade a Dallas civil court judge to bar the release. At Tuesday's hearing, Caraway's attorney, Michael Payma, made a shrewd and persuasive argument, citing narrow provisions of the law that would seem to bar release of police investigative documents in cases where there is no conviction.

But Paul C. Watler of Jackson Walker, a well-known First Amendment lawyer who represented The Dallas Morning News, took a broader view, arguing that Caraway himself had made the whole mess a public matter with his many maladroit attempts to tamp it down. Judge Snelson clearly took both sides seriously, asking the lawyers many questions and listening intently to their arguments.

Caraway, meanwhile, was belligerent on the stand, talking over Watler, cutting him off, trying to duck obvious yes and no answers with peevish evasions. In the hallway later, he said, "I'm sorry, but I come from an arena where you push back."

The city is slated to release the documents at 9:30 tomorrow morning, barring further legal action from Payma. Caraway suggested in testimony that the release of what's on those tapes may cost him his marriage, but he said it will not cost him his council district, which he predicted he will retake in the May election by a margin above 90 percent. (As far as the City Secretary's Office is concerned, he's running unopposed in District 4, but Caraway testified he has competition.)

And on one count he remained unmoved. When Watler demanded Caraway reveal the last names of Arthur and Archie, Caraway said, "I will never divulge that." When Watler pressed, he said, "I plead the Fifth."

And that was the only thing I wanted to know.
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51 comments
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Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

FYI: Caraway does not pay me nor does any one else.I lost a good friend to Murder March12,2008 because of Yellow journalism. Lynn Flint Shaw was murdered by her husband because of the picture being portrayed by the Media.Police said they,committed suicide.All of us know Lynn did not agree to die and leave her only child alone.Lynn was a believer in God,devoted Catholic and would have worked any situation out.Rufus did not share that same conviction.I celebrated their death at the Lancaster DART train station,with a prayer and sent Ian Shaw a message.Thanks Bill Brewer for taking care of Ian,for Lynn.May God let her soul rest in Peace,Dallas is a hard place for the pure in Heart.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

I hope now all you People who though there was some smoking gun on that tape see today,Mayor Dwaine Caraway was only trying to protect his wife.There was no great dark sex scandal or otherwise.You might feel different, but I have more respect for him,most men would have flex their ego and handle the situation themselves. Many of us have spouses,kids,siblings that sometimes go off the deep end, about things,that does not mean we don't love them. The only reason he won't give up Arthur or Archie

Guest
Guest

Are you all missing this? This is about privacy...what are the implications to the public? If there is a domestic violence situation, then it's okay for the police to privately record the details without your knowledge and then release it to the public? Does that mean that someone (a public figure even) who is involved in a rape case could have the brutal details of their attack broadcast for the world to hear?

There is a greater implication here than just what happened with Mayor Caraway.

Pam
Pam

"Caraway testified they not only told him he had to speak at council the next day and tell the truth, but that they wrote his speech for him."

Wait a minute! Did Caraway say that Leppert, Suhm, et al. wrote the the Arthur Archie speech? Or did they write a speech that he ignored, deciding on his own to go with the Arthur/Archie version?

I'd really like a lot more clarification on what, if anything, was said in the meeting he had with Leppert, Suhm, et al.

Mrwiizrd
Mrwiizrd

"Asked why he called Brown at all -- why he called him in the first place -- Caraway said to the Observer, "Who would Leppert have called? Who would Perot call? Give me a break."

This makes me sick.

Jacob
Jacob

So if the tape is truly damning, is there a chance he can be impeached?

NewsDog
NewsDog

He may be running unopposed but can anyone say RECALL.

Paul Burrough
Paul Burrough

Welp, I honestly feel bad for him now. Hope everyone's morbid curiosity is sated for a while.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I feel bad for his situation with his wife. The point of all of this is how he reacted to the situation. He lied to the public and the rest of the council about the incident. He made up the Arthur and Archie story to cover it up. All he had to say from the beginning was that there was an incident between him and his wife. The police came and found no evidence of violence. He could then ask for privacy in matter while him and his wife worked on their issues.

I feel that this is what the AG felt was pertanent public information. This tape was proof that he lied. Had he not lied, the details of the incident would be of a private nature. THe DMN was not wanting to out him or his wife to their problems. They wanted to out him as a liar. He continued to stand by the Arthur and Archie bit in court yesterday.

Life can sometimes be crap. As a public official, you have a responsibility to react properly to that crap.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I agree. No one wanted to drag his alleged marital problems out in public. They wanted to out him as a liar.

Given that, how can anyone be sure this taped version is the truth? The whole "marital problem" story could be Just Another Lie. How can anyone believe anything he says is really the truth?

Jrhone5821
Jrhone5821

I suspect Dwaine will continue to provide us substantive morbid fodder for years to come.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Hmmm, Dewaine calling Barb unbalanced? Isn't that kinda like the pot calling the kettle (deleted by JWP) ?

Montemalone
Montemalone

You've really been at the top of your game lately!

Joshua
Joshua

I suspect that the evening itself involved a number of "fifths"...and maybe a tad of "blow".

Visions of Barbara chasing Dwaye's BMW with a number two Iron and smacking the rear windows after learning of his beastiality sexual pecadillos with "Archie and Arthur"...code names for Shameka and Twanna sent over from the hip hop disco by Michael Vick to do deeds for Caraway and his "poker buddies"....likely what "tore up the so called rumpus room"....what with rumpassing without Barbara participating....

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

HmmmTurns out he just didn't want everyone to know about his wife's alleged chemical imbalance and the extent of her temper.And possibly the thought he's given to divorcing herHe actually sounds very reasonable, oddly enough.Sounds more concerned for her than anything else.I actually respect him a tiny bit more for having heard it.Not much, cuz he has such a long, long way to go.But a tiny bit

Nunya
Nunya

Me too. I actually liked him a little more after hearing it. Any guy who can stay with a woman like that for 15+ years, has to have the patience of a saint.

Joshua
Joshua

The entire FAMILY is IMBALANCED.....so who is HE protecting????She has a real job...he is just a temp Mayor, elected from a black ignorant district to the council.....face it....it is a BLACK thing......"imbalance"

Paul M
Paul M

WOW, Joshua, you are very prejudice. I'm guessing you lack breeding and education. Attacking the citizens who live in a district simply because they lack quality candidates willing to work 60 hr week job for $37,500/yr is not gracious and shows your lack of understanding of race and politics.

I hope you do not have offspring or intentions of reproducing, because we do not need little Joshuas rednecks running around for future generations.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Any bets on how his sworn testimony will differ from what's on the tape?

Paul Burrough
Paul Burrough

We're all gonna feel like saps once Arthur and Archie break their media silence.

Joshua
Joshua

Shameka and Twanna

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Hopefully after this fiasco, the council will see fit to toss dwaine out on his ear and make him the pariah he should be. May cant come soon enough..

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I bet his wife was pissed that he and his friends were hosting a dog fight during the game. I don't know about Arthur and Archie, but at least one of the Mayor's friends is a fan of both football and dog fighting.

Joanne
Joanne

For Dwaine's sake, I hope he finds a better divorce attorney than the one he used for this.

Cauldrew
Cauldrew

Some of those clowns needed to go under a bus.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

"On the table was a CD with the recording of the police interview, something Caraway said he had no idea existed before that moment."

The Chairman of the Public Safety Commission didn't know that calls to police are recorded?

Rooster
Rooster

Cue Betty Culbreath with an apologetic post for this clown in 5..4..3..2..

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

"the mayor seemed to throw everyone at City Hall under the bus -- the former mayor, the city manager, the police chief, the city attorney -- all of whom he said had conspired against him."

Hmmmmm, looks like a corrupted sub-routine in the paranoia processor. I think the Don Hill 2.0 may need to go into the shop for major repair work.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I woke up early for this Dallas Video Debut. I have my OJ, Coffee and blueberry bagel (dry) in anticipation. Let me know in advance if I need poppers.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Great article Jim.If someone can't get in there and get 25% of the vote, what does this say about this political district?

rubbercow
rubbercow

I am just happy to know that we have two fine elected officials making our city proud.

david
david

He is not running unopposed. Check the City's records. His opposition is a very bright, thoughtful young man.

Joanne R
Joanne R

David, I believe you were looking at something prior to the final filing postings on City Secretary website. Dwaine Caraway is UNopposed.

Current ballot prepared a few days ago:

http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/cso...

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

This from City Secretary Deborah Watkins:

"Mayor Caraway is the only candidate that will be on the ballot for Place 4. However, on Monday we received an application from Korey Mack, as a write-in candidate. His name will be presented to the voters at the polls as a write-in candidate on a separate sheet of paper. The voters will have the option to write in his name."

cp
cp

Then Korey Mack better shift into high gear, fast!

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

"I'm sorry, but I come from an arena where you push back."

Except when you're cowering behind a door in your game room because your wife is pissed off at you for having some buddies over to watch a football game.

Man card revoked.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

I'm with Bob--I say wifey caught him w/ his pants down in a compromising position.

Let's not forget, it was Leppert who pushed for Dwaine to be Mayor Pro Tem.

Rooster
Rooster

To this day I'm still having difficulty fathoming how this clown actually became Mayor of Dallas, TX.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

A vote of the Council,what the hell does argument with wife have to do with being Mayor?You think Leppert never fussed with wife? Maybe Ms. Leppert kicked his ass in private.

Joshua
Joshua

How did John Wiley Price get to be a County Commissioner, or Eddie Bernice Johnson get to go to Congress????

It is a RACIAL DEAL with buying mail in votes.

Bob
Bob

Oh, man, this thing has got "ho's" written all over it. No wonder Barbara went crazy.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Jim.....just a thanks for working so late...... and keeping us updated..... from those of us who have been following this soap opera.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

But he said it will not cost him his council district, which he predicted he will re-take in the May election by a margin above 90 percent.

That shouldn't be hard to do, since he doesn't have an opponent. (Korey Mack withdrew from the race.) So, basically what he's saying is less than 10 percent of voters will write in someone else's name.

I'm betting on Arthur and Archie to split the write-in vote.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Dwaine will not give up their names for the same reason he did not want the tape released,protecting their privacy. I know both men they have told him and other they want to come forward,Dwaine said not.I am not sure why you all hate Caraway so much,so he had a fuss with wife,police came no crime in progress,he sit in police car,talk with police Officers,men, let his heart and feeling out,forgot he was talking to police,now tape is out.Please tell me what the Hell that has to do with Running the City of Dallas? Mary Suhm runs the City of Dallas. Now if he had lied about the levy and the 100 year flood comes and people are dead, I would be mad as hell,but Leppert will be gone.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

90% ? Those are dictator numbers....

Joanne R
Joanne R

I never thought I'd say this: Thank God for Belo and their attorneys.

BMan
BMan

Another Bozo on the Dallas City council who somehow is the mayor. Good grief...

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