Police association president criticizes termination of Dallas officer

WFAA

Credit: WFAA

Police association president criticizes termination of Dallas officer

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 4 at 9:28 AM

DALLAS — The Dallas Police Association’s President Ron Pinkston sent a letter to City Hall criticizing Chief David Brown and the recent firing of Sr. Cpl. Amy Wilburn.

Brown fired 48-year-old Wilburn 21 days after she shot 19-year-old Kelvion Walker, who was unarmed, while investigating a carjacking. Walker survived the shooting.

The Dallas police chief fired Wilburn over her use of force Monday. Friday, The Dallas Police Association sent a letter to interim City Manager A.C. Gonzales criticizing the chief and his management style.

"No longer can an officer quickly drive to a man with a gun, robbery in progress or domestic abuse call because the officer no longer believes he/she can use deadly force, without fear of being terminated," read the letter addressed to Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez.

Wilburn said she feared for her life when she came across a carjacking suspect and fired her weapon on Dec. 9.  But, Brown determined there was no imminent fear and she violated the department’s use of force policy.

"The use of force is up in the air," said Pinkston in an interview with WFAA Monday. "Officers aren't going to know when they can use deadly force and when they can't and who is going to back them when they do."

Pinkston claims the firing of Wilburn has already had an impact on officer's psyche. He said during a shootout Thursday with an armed suspect, officers were shot at five times and didn't immediately return fire.

"Several rounds were only inches from taking an officer's life, but the officers hesitated because they no longer know when deadly force is acceptable," he said.

Brown didn't respond to WFAA's request for comment. However, in a recent news conference, he addressed the issue of when forced should be used by officers.

“While officers expressed they are in fear of their lives during critical incidents where deadly force is used that fear must be a reasonable fear," he said.

The Dallas Police Association says the chief's decisions and recent policy changes on training will hurt officers and citizens.

"Yes, we need to be accountable and transparent, but not at the cost of us doing our job protecting and serving all the citizens of Dallas," Pinkston said in the letter released Friday.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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