A Dallas County grand jury indicted three police officers Friday for their response to the 2020 protests against police brutality. Two of the officers were earlier this year for allegedly assaulting people at the protests.
Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Ryan Mabry is facing six counts of aggravated assault by a public servant as well as two counts of deadly conduct. Senior Corporal Melvin Williams is facing four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and two counts of deadly conduct.
Officer Joe Privitt of the Garland Police Department, who was on the force for more than 30 years, was indicted on one count of aggravated assault by a public servant. Garland police chief Jeff Bryan said he is “astonished and disappointed.”
“Officers attempting to stop the rioting were often required to make split second decisions under the most dangerous of circumstances to protect their lives and the property of the citizens of Dallas, often placing themselves in harm’s way while doing so,” Bryan said Friday at a press conference.
Meanwhile, Dallas police chief Edgardo Garcia said the process has been “difficult” and “unprecedented.”
“The negative light that has been shown on our department today is difficult for the brave men and women who protect our city day in and day out,” he said, adding that hundreds of officers were professional and “did their duty to defend this city.”
“If the actions that day rose to criminal intent, that is for a jury to decide at this point,” he added. “I hope those individuals will judge these officers through the lens of what all of our officers experienced while protecting Dallas in one of the most chaotic times in its’ history.”
In February, the Dallas District Attorney’s Officefor Mabry and Williams.
Mabry was accused of shooting three people at the 2020 protests with a 40-millimeter launcher, which is referred to as “less lethal” ammunition. One of the victims lost an eye when he was shot. Mabry was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant and three counts of official oppression.
Williams allegedly shot three people with 40-millimeter launchers during the protests. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant, and four counts of official oppression.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, the Dallas Police Department’s protocol at the time of the incidents required officers who shot rounds of ammunition to collect the fired projectile if possible, get medical help for the person struck, notify a supervisor on the scene and conduct a report of the incident. The office said “none of these steps were taken.”
Following the protests for George Floyd — a Black man killed by a White police officer in 2020 — the Dallas Police Department released a “critical self-analysis” that reviewed its “errors, miscalculations, and shortcomings” in handling the protests, according to CBS DFW.
The city’s Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough at the time said he was “deeply concerned” about the “inexplicable use of excessive force” by police officers and called for an investigation, CBS DFW reported.