Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has formed an ad hoc committee of council members to look into why a Dallas police officer was left on duty for a year and half while detectives investigated allegations that he ordered two people killed.
Officer Bryan Riser was arrested last Thursday on two counts of capital murder. He remains in the Dallas County jail held on $5 million bail.
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The committee composed of seven members “is here by directed to investigate and conduct public hearings .. to investigate the circumstances surrounding the decision to allow Dallas Police Department Officer Bryan Riser to remain on active duty after an investigation identified him as a ‘person of interest’ in connection with two murders in 2017,” the memorandum issued by Johnson states.
The memo also says that that committee is being formed under a provision of the Dallas City Charter that gives the council “investigatory powers.”
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Johnson appointed the below city councilmembers to serve on the committee:
- Cara Mendelsohn (Chair)
- Tennell Atkins
- Paula Blackmon
- Jennifer Gates
- Lee Kleinman
- Adam McGough
- Jaime Resendez
In an email newsletter sent out to constituents, Johnson also wrote that he was “going to push for answers.”
“While the case remains under investigation and all the evidence needs to be heard, it was sickening to learn of the allegations on Thursday,” the mayor said in the newsletter. “Justice must be served in this case. The loved ones of the victims, especially, should hear the truth.”
In the newsletter, he wrote that the situation raises “a host of other questions about decision-making from those in charge at the city level.”
“The city manager, to whom Chief Hall reported, and others need to account for this situation,” the mayor wrote in the newsletter. “Why was this decision made to leave him on duty? Who knew about it? When did they know? And what exactly, if anything, did investigators gain from that decision?”
Riser has been under investigation since August 2019 when a witness told Dallas police investigators that Riser allegedly offered him thousands of dollars and instructed him to kill two victims in 2017, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
When asked why Riser was left on duty and not placed on administrative leave, former Police Chief Renee Hall told WFAA that at the time the department didn't have enough evidence for an arrest. She also said wrote that putting him on leave “could have compromised the investigation.”
Hall left office at the end of 2020. Her successor, Police Chief Eddie Garcia, has been on the job about a month.