Dallas Police Department Will Host a Class for Officers on the Rights of Citizens to Film Cops

Categories: News

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Sky Chadde
Arlington cop-watchers film police on a recent Saturday night.
Less than two weeks after three people were arrested for filming Arlington police officers conducting a traffic stop, the Dallas Police Department announced Wednesday it will offer a class for law enforcement officers on people's rights to film them in public spaces. Also, the department, along with national journalism organizations, will host an event for the public on Oct. 16.

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled on citizens' rights to film the police, but many lower courts have, and overwhelmingly they've concluded the act is protected under the First Amendment. All First Amendment rights are subject to reasonable place, time and manner restrictions, but as long as someone recording doesn't interfere with an officer conducting her or his duty, their act is protected.

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Dallas Police Association President Wants More Ethical Behavior and Transparency in the Department

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The buzzword is "transparency."
The Dallas Police Association has a 10-point plan for reforming the department to help fix a problem with low moral among its members. Among other things, the plan calls for changes to policies regarding when police can use force, and new rules for foot chases and job transfers. And in an interview Tuesday, association President Ron Pinkston emphasized the importance of being transparent about the department's inner workings and of maintaining department ethics by following policy, reformed or not.

"You have to have ethics," Pinkston says. "You can't just worry about the officer at the bottom. You got to have the same at the top. Your leadership has to show they have ethics. You have to adhere to all the policies and guidelines of the Dallas Police Department, not just the guys at the bottom but the people at the top who are writing those policies. They have to follow those policies too."

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Craig Watkins' Second Town Meeting on Police Violence Calmer, But Long Road Still Ahead

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Sky Chadde
Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Chief David Brown, District Attorney Craig Watkins and, in the back, Pastor Frederick Haynes patiently answered questions about police violence Thursday night.
District Attorney Craig Watkins' second town hall meeting on police violence following the killing of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri was much more subdued than the first, though the message was much the same: I'm one of you, and I understand where you're coming from, but things have changed.

"When I was growing up, we didn't call the police because we were afraid of them," Watkins told the mostly black group gathered at Friendship West Baptist Church on Thursday. "That's just a reality. But now? You have Chief Brown. You have me. You have Lupe. You can call the police today in 2014 and you'll be treated fairly."

Watkins was referring to Dallas police Chief David Brown and Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who both joined him at the meeting. Brown is Dallas' second black police chief. Valdez is Dallas County's first female and first Latina sheriff.

Although Thursday's meeting was calmer, some audience members were still not buying Watkins' assurances.

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Reporting Law for On-Campus Rapes Underestimates Real Numbers

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Spencerjc1
Fewer than 0.1 percent of SMU students were sexually assaulted on-campus from 2010 to 2012. But what about other DFW schools? And how accurate is that number?

On Sunday night, an SMU student was raped while jogging just off campus. There are no details so far about the girl, other than the fact that she was assaulted in one of the nicest neighborhoods in town, in University Park. But her case is much more common than statistics would lead us to believe, despite a federal law aimed at keeping count of crimes on and near college campuses.

Part of the Clery Act requires schools to report the number of annual campus sexual assault cases to the Department of Education and mandates that schools be as transparent about crime as possible with students. Still, some schools are better than others at encouraging students to report their assaults, and the law's requirements leave gaps that make collecting accurate data difficult.

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Dallas Now Has a Bitcoin ATM

Categories: News

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Jimmy Scott
Here it is, Dallas' first Bitcoin ATM in all its glory.
Late last month, we told you about BTCity, a startup trying to find the perfect site for the company's Bitcoin ATM, expected to be the first in Dallas. BTCity still hasn't managed to get its machine up and running, but a local entrepreneur took the company's plans as an opportunity to speed up his timeline for getting his own ATM installed.

See also: Bitcoin ATM Startup Hoping to Plant Its Flag in Dallas

This week he won the race, placing the ATM pictured above into Buzzbrews' Deep Ellum location.

"I had ordered [the ATM] like a month ago and I was slowly trying to figure out legally what I needed to do. I saw [the BTCity article] so I really jumped the gun on trying to find a place to it," Jimmy Scott says. "I can't let this guy from out of town come beat me."

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Last Night's Vigil for Mike Brown on Continental Bridge Was Thoughtful, Heartfelt

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Stephen Young
Vigil Attendees

A group that swelled to perhaps as large as 100 at its biggest gathered at the Continental Bridge Park Thursday night to express solidarity with Mike Brown, the Ferguson, Missouri, man gunned down by a police officer Saturday, and the protesters in Ferguson who have faced tear gas and intimidation from Ferguson and Saint Louis County police.

At just after 6 p.m. when the candlelight portion of the gathering started, it was very much still light on the bridge. There was a loud-music-accompanied exercise class going on nearby and it was hot. Participants seemed to appreciate the chance to be together and to be heard.


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Behind the Scenes at a Texas Pro-Life Meeting

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YouTube
More concerned with intimidation than women's health?
Almost five minutes of audio, posted in full below, obtained by Naral Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas, shows the tactics Texas anti-abortion activists are using in order to exploit recent court decisions -- like McCullen v. Coakley, which outlawed buffer zones around health clinics that provide abortions -- and prevent abortions.

The audio was recorded during an August 4, 2014 training session hosted at the State Capitol by anti-abortion groups. It outlines the techniques used by the groups to track abortion providers and women seeking abortions, keep women who arrive at clinics from actually going inside.

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Amazon Same-Day Delivery Begins in Dallas Today. Couch Potatoes Rejoice.

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GorillaSushi
In a pinch? Amazon to the rescue.

The highly anticipated Amazon same-day delivery service begins today in Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. It's an extension of the delivery service that was launched in four West Coast cities earlier this year. And with this official announcement, couch potatoes across Dallas no longer have any reason to ever leave their mothers' basements again.

The same-day delivery feature has been available since May, and today Amazon is expanding the coverage area and releasing a front page search engine. "Previously, customers weren't able to shop same-day features directly and they were surprised at checkout," said Julie Law, a spokesperson for Amazon. "If you live in Dallas metro area, you can now filter your search on items you can get today or tomorrow. I live in Seattle, and I've had two vacations since this feature began and have used it for last-minute travel things."

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Oak Cliff Veteran Found Dead After Exiting VA Hospital Despite Signs of Dementia

Categories: News

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Dallas Police Department
A pixelated photo of Lee, provided by the DPD for his missing persons notice on July 20.

Everyone who knew him could agree that Odell Lee was a nice guy. He was known to pull out his own wallet if you told him money was tight. He would offer you one of his cigarettes when the two of you were talking. He made a point to be friendly with his neighbors. Lee enjoyed living alone, but had a wide circle of friends and relatives in the Dallas area, including two children and 10 grandchildren.

On July 20, Lee was reported missing, and Dallas police issued a critical missing person alert. The next day Lee was found unconscious, and because he was a Marine veteran, Dallas Fire-Rescue brought him to the North Texas VA Medical Center. After roughly 24 hours at the hospital, Lee walked away. He was found one week later, on July 28, in a creek off Simpson Stuart Road and Interstate 45. Friends say his body was badly decomposed.

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Why Are Dallas' Police Officers So Pissed?

Categories: News

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The Dallas Police Associations' (that's its insignia above) voluntary survey showed that not very many officers are satisfied with their job right now.
Ron Pinkston, the Dallas Police Association president, says the results caught even him off guard. According to a survey the DPA commissioned, 80 percent of the nearly 1300 members who responded to the online questionnaire rated the Dallas Police Department's morale as either "low" or the "lowest it's ever been."

"I knew it was low," Pinkston said last week. "I didn't realize it was so devastatingly low."

According to Pinkston, part of the reason it's so low is because the department is not allowing police officers to do their jobs. The survey suggests that most of the officers who responded feel the same way -- 71 percent "believe they are not allowed to perform police duties that the citizens of Dallas expect."

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