Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle has demoted a high-level member of his administrative staff and forced the retirement of another, the Dallas Morning News reports. Both played key supervisory roles in a 2001 fake-drug scandal. Monday’s changes mark the first time senior police commanders have been held accountable in the scandal, in which dozens of mostly Mexican immigrants were wrongly jailed on drug charges based on fake evidence. Until Monday, only detective-level officers had taken the brunt of the punishment, including two detectives who have been fired. Assistant Chief Dora Saucedo-Falls, a 27-year Dallas police veteran and the department’s highest-ranking Hispanic woman, was demoted to her former rank of lieutenant. Deputy Chief John Martinez, who has been with the department for 32 years, announced his retirement rather than be demoted.
Said Kunkle: “The message is that we’re all accountable for what occurs under our command.” He added: “This is a continuation of a sad and painful story. Supervising and managing narcotics is an extraordinarily difficult job. If our policies had been followed, if the proper controls had been in place, if the warning signs had been heeded, then these arrests would have been determined to be possible problem situations earlier than they were.” Jesse Diaz, president of the Dallas chapter of League of United Latin American Citizens, said of the demoted officer: “This a step back for the Hispanic community. We feel that she’s a scapegoat.”