John Wiley Price confrontation: What's next?

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on August 11, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 12 at 1:34 AM

DALLAS - After an unusual confrontation between News 8 reporter Brett Shipp and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price on Wednesday, the question is what happens next? The answer lies with the law on one level and county policy on another. 

Shipp was accompanying Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey to Price's Road and Bridge district office. The only Republican on the Dallas County Commission, Dickey was on a quest to examine county property said to be in storage units in Price's care.

As Shipp tried to follow Dickey into Price's office, video showed Price shoves him in the neck. Later a camera captured Price saying to Shipp, "I'm going to split your throat."

As the dust settled a day later, Shipp and Price outlined their legal intentions through Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins.

"Neither wishes to pursue charges," and "they both recognize the stress and pressures involved in their respective positions."

There are five people on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, including Judge Clay Jenkins. Only one, Commissioner Mike Cantrell, would talk to News 8 on camera about the issue.

"You get into that situation and things build up and tend to explode," Cantrell said. "And that's what you saw there." 

The confrontation between Shipp and Price, Cantrell said, is not the court's business.

 "You have police, sheriff's deputies and courts - in addition to Mr.  Shipp - having the ability to file a complaint," Cantrell said. "The county doesn't intervene in that. That's for separate agencies to take care of."

What is the county's business, he said, are the circumstances behind Dickey's visit to Price's office Wednesday with the news media in tow. What are the rules for access to county property?

"We've never had a policy at the county," Cantrell said. "Apparently, we need one now, of what people can have access to."

Dallas County commissioners will receive a preliminary report on what access policy might be next Tuesday.

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