Mayor Rawlings responds after officers fired for not investigating domestic abuse cases

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 22 at 3:01 PM

DALLAS –– Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will meet with high-ranking city and county law enforcement officials following the firing of two Dallas detectives who did not investigate more than 750 domestic abuse cases over two years.

Rawlings said he will join Dallas Police Chief David Brown, District Attorney Craig Watkins and two county criminal judges who come recommended by shelters for domestic abuse on the afternoon of Aug. 29 to discuss the issue, said Paula Blackmon, the mayor's chief of staff. 

"I expect the very best from our police force and they deliver day in and day out and when they don't, they need to move on and Chief Brown made the right decision," the mayor said.

Brown on Tuesday fired a crime scene analyst and five officers, two of whom did not investigate 751 cases between them, according to findings from an internal affairs audit.

"When women die in this city, when people are –– when women are beaten in this city, I'm outraged," Rawlings said outside the council chambers on Wednesday. "When a police officer is not doing all they can to stop that, that's disappointing to me." 

Sr. Cpl. Shawn Wash failed to investigate 646 cases between 2009 and 2011, the audit found. By the time he was fired, just 148 of those were still able to be pursued due to the statute of limitations. Sr. Cpl. Durman Johnson did not investigate 105 cases during that same period of time. All of his cases can still be tried. 

Rawlings has aggressively spoken out against domestic violence during his time in office, earning him national headlines that have saluted him as a "Man's-Man Mayor." He has gathered local sports stars such as Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach to speak out against spousal abuse. In March, Rawlings' Men Against Domestic Violence rally brought 10,000 to the steps of City Hall. 

The mayor said Wednesday that he hopes to ensure that the actions of the detectives in question will not have a chilling effect on women who are beaten or abused. 

"Hopefully, they feel more buoyed up by the community standing up saying we're not going to deal with domestic violence," he said. "We've had an increase this year in calls, so I'm confident that women are going to stand up and say, 'we need help.' We've got work to do and we're going to make sure we stay on this." 

The meeting, Rawlings said, will focus "about this issue overall in a broad sense." And while it took Chief Brown more than a year to discipline the two detectives, Rawlings said he supported the department's top official, who flatly declared after firing the officers that there were victims "that didn't get justice." 

"I'm not going to question where the chief is from this process standpoint," Rawlings said. "You can see he's got zero tolerance. So his process is working." 

News 8's Berna Dean Steptoe contributed to this report

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