DPD Chief Puts Officer Who Shoved Protester on Restricted Duty, Opens Investigation

Categories: Crime
benavidesshove.jpg
From the video of Stephen Benavides being shoved off a sidewalk planter last Saturday
This morning, Brantley spoke with ​Stephen Benavides, the protester who spent several days in jail on charges that he assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest. We also posted that video now making the rounds in which Benavides can clearly be seen being shoved off a planter by an off-duty Dallas Police officer working for Bank of America. Moments ago, on its Facebook page, the department addressed that video. Here is the statement in full:
Last night, the Dallas Police Department discovered a new video of the Occupy Dallas demonstration that occurred on November 5, 2011. The video shows a Dallas Police Officer, who was working off-duty for Bank of America, push a demonstrator off a planter in front of the building. Chief David Brown has ordered the officer placed on restricted duty and initiated a formal investigation into the officer's actions. The restricted duty assignment will also prohibit the officer from working off-duty employment until the departmental investigation is complete.

In light of this development, the Police Department has requested that the Dallas County District Attorney and the Dallas City Attorney proceed no further with the criminal cases alleged to have occurred until further consultation takes place. These meetings are anticipated to occur next week.

The Dallas Police Department is dedicated to the protection of all members of the public. Any allegation of police misconduct is taken seriously and will be vigorously investigated. The Police Department encourages any witnesses who would like to make a statement or who have additional video to contact the Internal Affairs Division at (214) 671-3986
Update at 11:54 a.m. Saturday: Dallas PD just sent a correction to the original press release. It says that "the news release distributed yesterday indicated the involved officer was working off duty for Bank of America. Although the officer was working in an off-duty capacity, he was not working for Bank of America. We apologize for the inaccuracy."
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RTGolden
RTGolden

Except for the fact that most people who own guns legally and carry them lawfully wouldn't have a "plaxico burress" moment.  Keep in mind that if our government is ever of a mind to try on totalitarianism for a fit, it will be an armed population that deters it, not just demonstrations.

Before you argue that, refer to the Arab Spring.  Demonstrations start these things rolling, it is guns that bring about the conclusion.  Without the 2nd amendment, there wont be a 1st amendment for long.

Keith Powers
Keith Powers

This just proves that the Dallas Police will do anything they want, abuse and falsely accuse the citizens of Dallas and unless you have video of it there's nothing you can do. The police dismissed this case completely until a video was posted on YouTube.

Ed D.
Ed D.

I'm starting to see why the Tea Party folks were carrying guns at their rallies. They can have a mild deterrent effect on certain sorts of unlawful activity by people who should know better.

RTGolden
RTGolden

HAPPY VETERANS' DAY!! And a sincere thanks to any and all who served in the Armed Forces.

Juxtapose1
Juxtapose1

It is heartening to see DPD treating this incident professionally.  At first I was unsure about what OccupyDallas and this Benavides guy said, but video doesn't lie.  I agree with Wylie, that if Dallas Officers lied on sworn statements of what happened, not only is a conviction unlikely, but it will prove up the corruption some say is rampant in the department.  If this goes to trial it will only bring to light possible criminality within DPD.  

On a side note, good job Chief Brown and DA Craig Watkins on suspending charges and restricting this officers duties.  What about Bank of America? 

james
james

restricted duty??!! that kid he shoved got pepper sprayed and throwed in jail fer how many days? terrorized with threats of felony charges??!! an' the low-life who started the violence git "restricted duty"??!! i think i'm gonna puke.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

That is policy. What would you prefer? The professional organizer was released. Why not let the system work for once. If it doesn't, then complain.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Nice to see DPD responding appropriately.

For all I know, this guy Benavides is a jerk--- but police are trained to keep their cool and behave within the limits of the law, even when others are not.

If the officer thought Benavides was violating the law, the appropriate response is to detain and/or arrest him.  Shoving him backwards off a four foot high ledge onto a crowded sidewalk is no more appropriate than sucker punching him, poking him in the eye, or beating him with a baton.

If the officers subsequently lied about their actions during the initial investigation, this will make  matters worse.  It is going to be very hard for the D.A. to win any convictions against the protestors if the defense can discover sworn statements by the officers in question that are directly contradicted by video evidence.

How do you make the case?  Benavides gets assaulted by one officer, only to get up stunned and dazed from his 4 foot fall onto the sidewalk and immediately face another officer coming at him and trying to rip his banner away.  In the heat of the moment, it wasn't entirely unreasonable for him to flee--- how does he know how to tell the good cops from the bad cops?  It was only through sheer luck that neither he nor any of the other protestors on the sidewalk escaped serious injury as a result of the officer's unprovoked attack.

I would expect that a fair number of jurors would consider trying to escape that situation as well when faced with at least one officer acting outside the law and other officers doing nothing to intervene.

james
james

an' when i was young an' quick...if assaulted from behind i might've shot the perpetrator 'afore i hit the ground. criminals oughta watch who they bully.

james
james

 i was on a federal jury once over a dpd abuse case.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

I don't want to be over optimistic, but is Chief Brown turning out to be totally awesome at this job?

trudat
trudat

He does appear to be doing the right thing at this point....

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