WFAA reporter shoved by Commissioner Price

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 5:17 PM

Dallas Road & Bridge District No 3 Office

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DALLAS — Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price physically accosted WFAA reporter Brett Shipp while Shipp was trying to gain access to Price's county office Wednesday morning.

Price struck Shipp with an open palm to the throat during a News 8 investigation of county equipment and purchases.

The incident occurred when Shipp was asked by Commissioner Maurine Dickey to accompany her to Price's Langdon Road office to gain access to storage sheds located on the county complex.

The News 8 video shows Brett Shipp, WFAA producer Mark Smith and photographer Billy Bryant following Commissioner Price and others as they attempted to enter the office front door.

"Why are we hiding this equipment?" Dickey asked Price as they went inside.

At the suggestion of Commissioner Dickey, Shipp attempted to follow her and Commissioner Price into the building. Shipp was stopped by County Administrator Darryl Martin, who told the journalists they could not enter the lobby area.

"I can't let them in, because I've got an open records issue," Martin was heard telling Price.

The confrontation ensued quickly after Shipp said, "This is public property."  

Martin, responded, "Sorry, sorry" and attempted to shut the door, preventing Shipp from entering.

Shipp again stated, "This is public property," and remained standing at the front door. Commissioner Price pushed past Martin and struck Shipp, using his palm to shove the veteran WFAA reporter out of the doorway.

The video then showed Price yelling at Shipp: "Move out of the... this is... this is my... this is my office, you are not allowed in."

As skirmish continued, Commissioner Price was restrained by Darryl Martin.

"I remember his fist and the palm of his hand going right... and punching me in the throat," Shipp later said, demonstrating by pressing his own hand hard against the right side of his neck.

Shipp was not injured.

Commissioner Dickey was ushered into Price's office. "I tried to get out the door a couple of times to walk out, and it was locked," she said.

Dickey and Price could be seen through the window standing face-to-face.

"It was not very nice," she said. When asked if their encounter was profane, she said: "It could've been termed as such."

Seconds later, Dickey and Price emerged from the office. Shipp and Price then had a second discussion on the sidewalk, standing about three feet apart.

"I will split your neck, back up. Back up. Back; get away from me," Price told Shipp."I'm telling you. I've asked you."

"Commissioner, are you going to split my neck? Are you going to split my neck, commissioner?" Shipp asked.

Later, Price did take Dickey to a storage unit. "There was nothing at that location," she said. "A bunch of things that, in my opinion, didn't even need to be in a climate-controlled storage facility."

News 8 was unable to contact John Wiley Price for further comment.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins did not respond to a request for an interview on whether the Commission contemplates action against Commissioner Price.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

 

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