Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Dallas Police Chief Holds a News Conference. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired July 11, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHIEF DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Not enough mental health funding? Let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding?
[11:30:00] Let's give it to the cops. Here in Dallas, we've got a loose dog problem. Let's have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail? Give it to the cops. 70 percent of the African-American community's being raised by single women? Let's give it to the cops to solve that as well.
That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. And I just ask for other parts of our democracy, along with the free press, to help us. To help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve.
So, again, I'm just being pretty honest with you. I have raw feelings about all of what we do. And don't ask me if you don't want the answer.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) and talk about what -- resources are available to officers to help them (inaudible) and process what's happened.
BROWN: What's really important now for our officers, counseling services. I'm at the point of making a tough decision about mandating some of it because we want to be superman and superwoman and we're not and we are the last to say we need help. Our professionals suffer from this for quite awhile now. I don't want that on my conscience that someone needs help and they're too proud to ask.
I'm getting close to mandating this. I'm seeking counsel with my staff to make sure I don't make matters worse. But that's the No. 1 thing we need. Everything else we need, we're getting from our law enforcement partners and from our city managers and from our mayor and counsel. So we're -- we're getting all the support we need from Dallas, along with support from our citizens. This has been greatly appreciated and heartfelt.
Matt with ABC.
QUESTION: Thank you. Yesterday you mentioned the search for accomplices, going through the laptop and cell phones of the shooter. I'm wondering if you have any information about people who might have known about this?
And also, following up on what Kasie (ph) mentioned, yesterday, I noticed that your bodyguard was guarding you very, very carefully. There have been threats against the department. Have you received personal death threats against you (inaudible)?
BROWN: Yes, me and my family have received death threats almost immediately after the shootings. We're -- as a policing family here in Dallas and across the country, there is a heightened sense of awareness around threats we received all over the country.
You've reported many of the things happening in other cities with shootings at headquarters and other types of things, officers being shot and injured and shot and killed. So we're at a -- at a place where we're concerned for our safety.
So I don't want to just single out me. Everyone's experiencing the same type of awareness, increased awareness, because of people who, in my opinion, are not stable, who could do grave damage to us. So we're all on edge. We are. We're all on edge and we're being very careful.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) this organization, and I assume that these were credible threats against you and your family?
BROWN: We're taking them all as credible, whether they can be confirmed or not. My particular threat was a post from a private Facebook to our Dallas Police Department Facebook. So we've been unable to identify the source of the threat but we're taking it very seriously. The language was such that we have to do that for the sake of our families.
BROWN: No. Gabe, NBC (ph), yes, sir.
QUESTION: (Inaudible). There is a report out today that suggests (inaudible) organizations based on (inaudible) black person (inaudible) based on your investigation (inaudible) a possibility to the two letters R and B could have been part of an acronym used by the black (inaudible). What do those letters mean?
BROWN: We don't have that information to confirm either of those. We are following any and all leads. I am a little bit old- school cop; until you told me we've exhausted every lead, I'm not going to be convinced that we know everything about what happened, associations, others that might be complicit.
BROWN: So I'm going to -- we're going to turn over every rock. We're going to follow every lead until it's exhausted, until I'm satisfied that this was the lone person -- and I may be overly concerned about this, but I'm highly protective of cops and I'm going to make sure there's nobody else out there that has something to do with this.
QUESTION: How is it possible that no one in his family may have known that he was stockpiling weapons and ammunition before this thing happened (ph)?
BROWN: You sound like a cop brother. That's my question.
QUESTION: Thank you, Chief. As far as the investigation, knowing what we know now, is there anything that could have been done to prevent this attack? And on the wider scale the protests around the country are only intensifying and as a black person, a black male, a law enforcement officer, how do you broach those two lines?
BROWN: If anything could be done, it needs to be done by our public, which includes the protesters, to have greater concern about the requirements that it puts on law enforcement when you have spontaneous protests, or even planned protests, to ensure their safety, but to be inconsiderate of the officers safety. That's what could be done differently. From the officers perspective, they did a courageous admirable job. Bravery is not a strong enough word to describe what they did that day. Not only in planning to make sure the rally was done a safe manner and that they had the right to protest. But improvising, making sure that as they spontaneously begin to march that we were able to block traffic where there were no accidents with vehicles and pedestrians trying to march and exercise, because that was unplanned that was spontaneous. But again I want to emphasize if something can be done, it's going to be done in the public square. It's going to be done by our citizens understanding that this democracy requires their participation. You get my point? It's not something you can sit on the sideline and be a part of this democracy, the way our country was founded, it required participation.
QUESTION: Again Chief, with the other question (ph) if I may. All the protests happening nationwide now, as an African-American and a law enforcement official, how do you encourage (ph) those two groups (ph)?
BROWN: So, I've been black a long time, Emanuel (ph), so it's not so much of a bridge for me, it's every day living. I grew up here in Texas, I'm third-generation Dallasite. It's my normal to live in a society that had a long history of racial strife. We're in a much better place than we were when I was a young man here, but we have much work to do, particularly in our profession, and leaders in my position need to put their careers on the line to make sure we do things right and not be so worried about keeping their job. That's how I approach it and I hope it's an example for other to approach the way we conduct ourselves as police officers.
Is Hannah (ph) with PBS here? Nope.
QUESTION: There's a big story about what a cop means (ph) and filed a report that ABCN right now (ph), My first questions will be what's the one thing that the community can do for the police department and also from the city to possible be the police force (ph). Right now we are approaching to the funerals so you probably have other (ph) CNN to conflict those (ph). What is your all's comment?
BROWN: There's a lot that can be done. Let me reserve some of that commentary because I don't want to get too far from what we have planned for the rest of the week. We're starting - some of the services start on - tomorrow we have a candle light vigil tonight at 8. But there's much that can be done from our political leaders, there's much that can be done from the free press. And there's much that can be done from everyday citizens, and I've tried to talk about a lot of that, but I just don't want to get too distracted from grieving the loss, and there'll be a time for expanded conversation on what can be done.
QUESTION: Chief, I know it's still early (ph) can you mention that it protective (ph) agency in the past year, but this year the official inexperience (ph) in a series of clerk resignations (ph) are you afraid that after what's happened last week, the amount of resignations are going to increase or it's going to become a crisis situation?
BROWN: Right, so you glossed over that, resignations, our officers have been leaving because we're the lowest paid in the area, low paid -- 44 grand, that's starting pay. And they've been leaving to go to other adjoining law enforcement agencies because of that.
So it's not just resignation; it's officers not feeling appreciated.
And so, I just wanted to make that pretty clear that officers our committed to this profession, but they -- they want to take care of their families financially as well. And we're working to correct that. And I have -- every indication I get from the mayor, the city manager, and the city council, they want to correct that as soon as possible. And I trust that they will.
QUESTION: Yes, Chief. You just think about they'll never (inaudible). Think about (inaudible). And also, have you had a chance to meet with (inaudible)? If so, what (inaudible)?
BROWN: As far as the ongoing investigation, there's many questions in my mind. There -- some of the questions we may not ever know the answer to. But we're going to continue to ask ourselves the tough questions to make sure we don't leave anything uninvestigated.
So we're making sure that we don't take any things for granted that we know without a full investigation. So, there's -- there's a lot of questions. And it's very complex.
This person obviously has some delusion. This person also -- also was very committed to killing officers. We don't know much else beyond that that we can say with certainty. But we're -- we're going to find out.
As far as what I'm saying to my officers, I'm -- I'm trying tell them that I care about them when I see them face-to-face. It's a big department. It's hard to touch everybody at one time. So, you won't see me walking past an officer without grabbing him and hugging him, and shaking their hand and telling how grateful I am for their commitment and sacrifice.
Jay (ph), with the Times (ph)?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) a young man that you were afraid of (inaudible). How did you overcome that fear, and how would you tell young African-American men (inaudible)?
BROWN: So when I was graduating high school, I got a full-ride scholarship to U.T. Austin. And this was 1979. I come back home for the summers. Around '80, '81, '82, that time frame, the crack cocaine epidemic hit Dallas pretty hard.
My friends who stayed here became involved in that, and it broke my heart. And it changed what I wanted to do in college. And I actually left college my first semester of my senior year to come back and apply for the Dallas Police Department to do something about what I was seeing in my neighborhood.
And my first beat was my old neighborhood. And that was just happenstance.
I'm the kind of person that, I probably wouldn't protest or complain. I'd get involved and do something about it by becoming part of the solution. And that's still in me. That keeps me going, that I get so much satisfaction that I can do a small thing to help this community.
I just love Dallas. And I love serving. It's part of my character. It's part of who I am. I'd get -- out of all the crap we have got to take as police officers, the satisfaction you get with serving, much more gratifying. Much more gratifying.
It's like that for a lot of police officers in this country.
BROWN: Become a part of that solution. Serve your communities. Don't be a part of the problem.
We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about.
Keith (ph). QUESTION: Chief, good morning. A couple of questions.
I want to get into, if you can, with prompt -- the decisions that were made (inaudible) the robot? And also what prompted the decision to -- to take (inaudible)?
BROWN: He had already killed us in a grave way. And officers were in surgery that didn't make it. I didn't know they were passed, but I knew that at least two had been killed.
And we knew through negotiation this was the suspect because he was asking how many did he get.
He was telling us how many more he wanted to kill. This -- this wasn't an ethical dilemma, for me. I'd do it again, Keith (ph). I'd do it again to save our officers' lives.
BROWN: To use a robot? I would use any tool necessary to save our officers' lives. And I'm not ashamed to say it.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) change has (ph) a result from (inaudible) tactics, in terms of between (ph) police, as a result of what happened?
BROWN: We are committed to community policing. It is -- in the 21st century -- it is the best way to police our country. It's the best way. And I read those stats out to make my point. We have been a community policing organization and we have led the country for 12 consecutive years in crime reduction by doing that type of policing. Community policing works. It makes us all safer. I'm convinced.
QUESTION: Chief, thanks for taking (inaudible) questions. Do you have any more information about what was used by the shooter? Was it bought (ph) legally (inaudible) where and when it was bought?
And then secondly, I know the president is coming here this week. What's the (inaudible) you'd like to hear him say when he's here?
BROWN: I don't have the information about his gun. I know we have it, but I didn't bring it here with me. I didn't put it to memory. I'm sure they've told me and it's just -- I'm drawing a blank. So we'll try to get that out here as soon as this is over to you all in a press release.
As far as me chiming in on telling the president what to say, I'm going to pass on that, if you don't mind. He's the president, for God sake.
All right, Alan. QUESTION: Chief, you said that (inaudible) can you talk a little bit about what you've learned about the nature of preparation (inaudible) explosives he was using, what was the (inaudible) Dallas (inaudible)?
BROWN: Right. Yeah, I believe Dallas because that's what happened. I don't know whether or not he planned to escape and then the bombing would start, or he didn't have time to complete. We just don't know how the bombing aspect of his plans were going to play out.
We're looking for those answers. And the concern is that we haven't found something that's out there. That's the concern. We don't know. That's reality. But we're asking the question and trying to find leads to see if there's any answers to that.
QUESTION: Yes. Thank you, Chief. Just a follow-up on that, (inaudible) original timeline (inaudible) fast-tracked (inaudible) in terms of potential accomplices, have his family members been questioned, have any of them been detained?
BROWN: Not detained. We questioned his mother. We don't know the scope of his plans yet. As soon as we do know that, we'll share them with you once we're comfortable that it won't compromise the investigation.
You're not Lucy, so you must be Trevor.
QUESTION: Yes, sir.
BROWN: I'm sorry (inaudible) did you have a follow-up question?
QUESTION: In terms of the explosives (inaudible)?
BROWN: There was a large stockpile. One of the bomb techs called me at home to describe his concern of how large a stockpile of bomb-making materials he had. According to that bomb tech, he knew what he was doing. This wasn't some novice.
And so what's on his laptop, how he learned that, we don't think he learned it in the military. At least we don't have any evidence of that. You can learn all that online, I guess. So we're trying to determine how he learned how to do that.
So we don't have the amount, but as soon as -- that's another thing that -- hopefully my staff is taking notes here -- we can get out to you in a press release as soon as we're comfortable that it won't compromise the investigation.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) how much could it have blown up if (inaudible)?
BROWN: No, they did not.
QUESTION: Chief, you talked about (OFF-MIKE)
BROWN: So, just going back to my government class in high school -- Ms. Battle (ph), hello, my teacher -- there's three branches of government, right? Legislative, judicial and executive.
We're a local democracy here in Dallas. And our council has a role, but there's a greater role in policy-making and folks just need to do their job. There's too many things we all agree on on both sides of the aisle that we hadn't gotten done. And we just need to get it done.
And quit asking cops to chime in and do it for you. That's -- we've got full plate. The policy-making, the laws being passed -- that's their job. And they need to do it so that we can be safer in this country. And the issues have been long discussed.
I can't stand watching cable news anymore. It's been discussed, you know, forever and we're just not getting to a place where we do anything. And that's the frustration for police officers is that we all know what needs to be done, that we agree on. Let's get that done, just to say we did something to help everyone.
Have you got a followup?
BROWN: Well, something on guns. I was asked, well, what's your opinion about guns. Well, ask the policy-makers to do something and I'll give you an opinion. Put a law out there, and I'll give you an opinion about it. But to have me do that job, I'll pass on that. Get in that debate and get swallowed up by both sides who are entrenched in their positions, I want no part of that. Do your job.
We're doing ours. We're putting our lives on the line. Other aspects of government need to step up and help us.
Anything else, Trevor (ph)?
BROWN: Alfie (ph)? QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) on the distrust of police that (inaudible). How do you begin to break down that notion that cooperating with police is tantamount to (inaudible) race?
BROWN: I think the biggest aspect of our community policing effort is interacting with youth in a positive way. That begins shaping your world view. The earlier you can get to young people, the better opportunity and chance you have of shaping their world view differently than what they're environment is telling them. So that's number one.
Number two is holding yourself accountable. When the one percent or two percent of officers don't do their job in the right ways, say it and hold them accountable. If that means separating them from employment, that's just what it means. You can't risk that one or two percent defining the 98 percent or defining the profession by their mistakes.
So, really those are two big rocks (ph) I think we could all hopefully agree on that, you know, young people and holding officers accountable for what they do is tantamount to gaining trust.
QUESTION: (inaudible) you have been very (inaudible) in your (inaudible) on the beat (inaudible). And does that mean you'd like (inaudible) see rolled out in other departments across the country?
BROWN: Departments are understanding what needs to be done. They all have their ways of doing (inaudible). I participate in the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a great association. And we all discuss every quarter all the major cities get together, chiefs, and discuss all of this.
And the policing environment I think is the one held most accountable, and the one if you look back just a generation has made the most progress. We just need to see that from all aspects of government.
QUESTION: Good morning, Chief.
BROWN: Good morning.
QUESTION: A question about how your officers do the job (inaudible). After this incident, we know some of your officers are patrolling in pairs now. One of your detectives told me that they don't know if they're being hunted. He reminded me (inaudible) through your Kevlar (inaudible) armor like (inaudible).
How do your men and women on the beat go out and practice community policing that you're so dedicated to, yet you have this shadow of this horrific event that's now (inaudible) follow up on (inaudible)?
BROWN: OK. So, how they do it, with steel resolve, bravery and courage. That's how they do it. And knowing that community policing makes them safer. It makes them safer.
People are likely -- in the community -- if they trust you to protect you. And when something goes wrong to give you the evidence to resolve crime, if they trust you.
So trust is a thing that is invaluable, it's priceless if we're able to build that kind of trust in these communities that need us the most especially. That is the safest way to police.
You'll follow-up on open carry?
QUESTION: You know that there was (OFF-MIKE) or I'm sure. What does this tell you about people -- usually who do (ph) Texas law (OFF- MIKE) of open carry (OFF-MIKE).
BROWN: That its difficult at best, we expressed this. It's a little different here in Texas, where are you from?
BROWN: You're from Texas, so you know, all right. So it's a little different here in Texas in the way we view open carry, concealed carry.
And we've had great dialogue with our state legislators about this and we've expressed all of our concerns and we're trying as best as we can as a law force community to make it work so that citizens can express their Second Amendment rights.
But it's increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over and shootings occur in a crowd and they begin running and we don't know -- or we don't know if they're the shooter or not or they begin -- has been -- has been the presumption that a good guy with a gun is the best way to resolve some of these things.
Well, we don't know who the good guy is versus who the bad guy is if everybody starts shooting. And we've expressed that concern, as well. I have every belief and trust that our folks are listening at the state on this issue, particularly as it involves protests.
QUESTION: You mentioned you've (OFF-MIKE). BROWN: I don't -- I don't have that information. I don't have any indication that they're not being cooperative at this point.
QUESTION: Regarding (OFF-MIKE).
BROWN: I have no idea about that, either. When I find out I'll certainly will share it with you all. Any other questions, John? Jason, I'm sorry.
QUESTION: That's it.
QUESTION: Can you talk about that conversation you had with the families (ph) of (OFF-MIKE) officers?
BROWN: I'd like to leave that private, if you don't mind.
QUESTION: Are they getting support (ph)?
QUESTION: And you asked for support from the community on (OFF- MIKE).
BROWN: Yes, overwhelmingly. Dallas -- I've used the word Dallas love because Dallas has had the reputation of being a city that hates so just one example, why I say it loves.
They took an inter-city kid like me with flaws and made me their police chief. That's extraordinary city and have supported me through very difficult challenges. You don't see that everywhere.
One of the first people to get fire (ph) when we had a controversy, police chief, gets thrown under the bus in one of the most difficult jobs in the country right now, being a police chief in a major city.
And I've seen my friends just thrown under the bus, man when something goes bad. I haven't -- this mayor, this council, this city manager, the previous city manager Mary Soon (ph), hello Mary, she hired me.
They're different people, they're special and I'm just proud to be working here as their police chief. I'm just proud to be associated with the leadership here in this town. It's a special place, it really is.
That's all I had on my list -- hang on just a second, hang on just a second because nobody else is on my list. If you do this orderly, I'll take some more questions but if you all try to talk over each other, I'm gonna go have another cup of coffee, OK?
All right, so lady in the orange, what's your name, who you work with? QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE).
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) how do you think (OFF-MIKE)?
BROWN: I have no idea, today will be a day -- hopefully after this I can really get an applied place and get my head around these services. It's going to be the most challenging thing in my life, to be quite honest with you.
[12:00:00] I don't know how I'm going to make it through the week. That's why I wanted to do this, where I could have the rest of the day to begin the services tomorrow