SWAT DPD Officers Mr. Cpl. Melvin Williams and Mr. Cpl. Ryan Mabry was initially charged in February. Garland officer Joe Privitt was also charged Friday.
DALLAS — A grand jury has indicted two Dallas police officers and a Garland police officer with assaulting protesters marching in support of George Floyd during the summer of 2020, according to the Dallas County district attorney’s office.
Mr. Cpl. Melvin Williams and Mr. Cpl. Ryan Mabry, both Dallas police SWAT officers, were initially charged in the case in February. Garland police officer Joe Priviit was also charged Friday.
Mabry has been charged with six counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and two counts of deadly conduct.
Williams was charged with four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and two counts of deadly conduct.
Privitt was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant charge.
During a news conference Friday, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said charges against officers are difficult for any department and said this process is “unprecedented.”
“Whether that day’s actions rose to the level of criminal intent, that is for a jury to decide at this time. I hope that the people who will try those officers will do so through the lens of what all of our officers experienced while protecting Dallas”. in one of the most chaotic moments in its history,” Garcia said.
The Dallas Police Association also held a news conference Friday afternoon, calling the allegations an overreach of judicial power and authority.
DPA President Mike Mata said they support both Williams and Mabry.
Garland Police Chief Jeff Bryan said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the allegations against Privitt.
He said he sent officers to help Dallas police as the situation evolved, noting that his officers faced dangerous threats, including people brandishing firearms, setting fires and throwing rocks and bottles. He said his officers had to make “split-second decisions under the most dangerous circumstances to protect their lives and the lives and property of the citizens of Dallas, often putting themselves in harm’s way in doing so.”
Bryan said Privitt is one of the Garland Police Department’s highly decorated officers over the past 32 years with no disciplinary history.
“I have not seen evidence against Officer Privitt that rises to the level of criminal conduct alleged by the Grand Jury, which is Aggravated Assault, by Threat, of a Public Servant,” Bryan said.
Privitt’s attorney, Cody Skipper, said his client has no investigations in his internal affairs file outside of a traffic accident.
“This case is, well, no case,” Skipper said. “It’s horse manure, that’s what it is.”
He also submitted a lengthy biography of Privitt that says the 57-year-old has been a church deacon for the past 15 years and has received 37 letters of commendation from the city of Garland.
Williams had previously been fired from the department on Jan. 25 for violating the department’s use-of-force policy when authorities said he repeatedly punched a man in the head while trying to break up a large fight in the middle of Elm Street. Video captured the incident.
Williams’ attorney, Robert Rogers, told WFAA that he is looking forward to having his client in front of a jury.
“I’m so confident that 12 jurors will hear this case and find them not guilty, we just have to get to that point,” Rogers said.
Mabry has been with the department since January 2010 and is currently assigned to the Tactical Operations Division. Authorities said he is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
Court documents have said that Mabry and Williams fired foam “sponge” rounds, a less-lethal type of ammunition, at protesters in downtown Dallas in May 2020.
Body camera footage from one such incident showed Mabry entering the field of view, then lifting, aiming and firing a round from a 40mm launcher containing an impact foam round in the direction of protester David McKee.
According to an affidavit, body camera footage also captured Williams “opening his 40mm launcher and removing a spent cartridge from the launcher.”
According to the same affidavit, McKee told investigators that “the first shot went through his cardboard sign and hit him in the right bicep, and the second shot, fired moments after the first shot, hit him in the testicle and right bicep.” left thighs, and that the injury to the left testicle required surgery.
Among the other protesters injured by the sponge rounds was Brandon Saenz, who was hit in the left eye and had to have it surgically removed.
He was beaten with a sponge on May 30, 2020 while protesting near Dallas City Hall.
“Then all of a sudden I heard a rumble and it made me feel hot,” Saenz said.
Court documents said the sponge round was fired by Mabry.
Garcia said the less-lethal tools police used not just on the days of the protests but on a daily basis “have saved hundreds of lives, made it so officers don’t have to go to lethal, which we think is really lethal.” strength.”
Garcia said his department will investigate the tactics they use and possibly modify those tactics.
But he noted that “the goals are to defend our protesters, to protect our officers, and to make sure this city doesn’t burn down. Those are the goals that will always be the goals.”
Daryl Washington, one of the attorneys representing both Saenz and McKee, said his clients were “relieved” to hear the news that the officers had been charged.
“The injuries they sustained were very serious,” Washington said of his clients. “And we thought it was appropriate that [the officers] They were prosecuted for these injuries.”