Grand jury indicts 3 Dallas area officers in 2020 protests

DALLAS (AP) — Two Dallas police officers and one from the Dallas suburb of Garland were indicted Friday for aggravated assault for their actions during the 2020 protests following George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzo announced Friday that Dallas officer Ryan Mabry faces six counts, former Dallas officer Melvin Williams faces four counts and Garland officer Joe Privitt faces one count after being indicted by a grand jury.

“These indictments as returned by the Grand Jury are the result of almost 2 years of investigation by the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office,” Creuzo said in a statement.

Garland Police Chief Jeff Byan said Privitt is a 32-year veteran officer who had no disciplinary actions taken against him.

“I’m astonished and disappointed to learn that Officer Privett was indicted … related to actions he took in assisting the Dallas Police Department during riots that occurred in Dallas almost two years ago,” Brown said.

Bryan said Dallas police requested assistance and he authorized Privitt to join in controlling the protests that turned aggressive.

Bryan said protesters brandished weapons and threw bricks, rocks, frozen water bottles and bottles of urine at police.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said Friday that he hoped jurors who eventually hear these cases “can look at it through the lens that the officers in those chaotic situations did.”

“Was every situation perfect? Absolutely not. There is no police chief that dealt with protests who could tell you everything they did was perfect,” Garcia said. “However, I can tell you that the intent of the officers was to protect the city, and I’m not quite sure if there was criminal intent.”

Mabry and Williams also face two counts of deadly conduct in addition to charges of official oppression announced in February.

Mabry and Privitt were placed on administrative leave while Williams was fired earlier this year for violating the department’s use-of-force policy in a separate incident.

Attorneys for Mabry and Williams have called the charges a false narrative and said at least two of those injured provoked the officers. It was not immediately clear if Privitt has an attorney to speak in his behalf.

Dallas is not the only city under the spotlight. The tactics used by police nationwide during protests that swept the country after Floyd was killed have been the focus of reviews and lawsuits. Several police chiefs have resigned or been ousted as a result.

In February, a Texas grand jury indicted 19 Austin police officers on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

In March, a jury ordered the city of Denver to pay $14 million to 12 protesters after finding police officers violated their constitutional rights by using excessive force during demonstrations.

In April 2021, a federal judge ruled that police in Columbus, Ohio, ran “amok” when responding to 2020 demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality and ordered officers to approach such scenarios differently.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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