With a national spotlight on shootings by police, top Dallas law enforcement officials went face to face with residents with a message: Dallas County is not Missouri, reports the Dallas Morning News. Police Chief David Brown, District Attorney Craig Watkins and Sheriff Lupe Valdez answered questions during an often-contentious town hall meeting last night about police shooting investigations. Dallas County is weighing a proposal to add investigators to look into police shootings independently of the department.
Brown continued to offer support for the new district attorney's unit, as he promoted his department's community outreach programs. “You can't have enough oversight when it comes to police-officer-involved shootings in any city,” he said. Watkins said he has been working to create the new unit for two years. “What we're saying is we need to restore the public's trust,” Watkins said. “We need an independent voice.” The trust problem manifested itself in outbursts from the dozens of people in the audience through the hourlong meeting. Some questioned whether the district attorney's office could truly be independent from the police. Collette Flanagan, whose son was killed by a Dallas officer last year, slammed Watkins for not winning more indictments against police. The officer who shot her son said he was being choked until he couldn't breathe. He was cleared by a grand jury.