Isn’t It Just A Tad Bit Concerning That Dallas’ Largest News Outlet Is Decrying The Idea Of Questioning The Dallas Police Department Investigating Itself?
Hear us out: Despite what you may believe, we really aren’t that quick to fashion our own tin-foil hats for things that give us pause.
But it’s hard not to at least question the acceptance of what seem like default answers, especially when the Dallas Morning News is shamelessly making no attempts to hide its all-too-ready comfort with them. If shilling for the bigwigs is your take, then fine, we guess. But if you’re going to do it, at least do it with enough cunning subtlety to not put such fealty right in the headline.
On October 8, the Morning News editorial team published an editorial that ran under the title, “Amber Guyger witness Joshua Brown deserves justice. Our law enforcement has earned the trust to give it to him.” This op-ed came in light of the public’s demands of oversight of the police department in conducting this investigation, given how Brown testified in court against a Dallas police officer and played an integral role in her murder conviction. There’s also rampant mistrust and outrage nationwide due to the general omnipresence of police brutality, which has fueled calls for criminal justice reform.
Criminal justice reform is, of course, an issue wherein many nuances, variables and dimensions lie. As such, there is a wide spectrum of honorable disagreement on the matter.
So, no, we do not take issue with the fact that the Morning News’ editorial team voiced opinions with which we disagree. Rather, it’s more that it demonstrated that, at best, it is profoundly tone-deaf and ill-equipped to even have this conversation in the first place. Or, at worst, that it’s weirdly dedicated to alleviating the controversy as a service to local law enforcement.
Let’s consider, for a moment, this editorial suggestion: “We must not, as a city, let emotions, suspicions or conspiracies lead us. The moment is too fragile, and we stand to lose too much that we gained from the heartening display of justice, compassion, dignity and forgiveness that we saw play out in Judge Tammy Kemp’s courtroom.”
First and foremost, this explanation misses the mark. The editorial board is pleading for people to not scrutinize the Dallas Police Department and is seemingly implying that doing so goes against Brandt Jean’s forgiveness of Amber Guyger. It does not explain what these two things even have to do with one another, let alone bother to expound on what was gained from the “display of justice, compassion, dignity and forgiveness that we saw play out.” Using Brandt’s act of grace to imply that we should simply accept what we’re told without question is disjointed at best.
As Allison Jean said of her son’s decision to hug Guyger: “What Brandt did today was remarkable, and it will be a big talker [in regards to] what we must do, but I don’t want the community to be mistaken by what happened in the courtroom,” she said. “What you saw and what you heard in the courtroom really showed what your system is, and you must seek to do something about it. You saw a contaminated crime scene, you saw deletion of evidence by persons in high offices. You saw turning off of body cams and saw cameras in the vehicles.”
Moreover, under the idea expressed in the aforementioned op-ed, suspecting foul play in Brown’s death means thinking with your heart and not with your brain. Therefore, you think logically if you side with the Dallas Police Department, and you’re letting your passions take the wheel at the expense of all rationality if you think they are too close to the situation to investigate Brown’s death.
The narrative is clear.
But wait! The Morning News editorial board came out with another op-ed on this issue today titled, “What the killing of Guyger witness Joshua Brown has to teach us now”, and it expounds on this emotional outburst vs. logical stoicism dichotomy in saying that we must have “cooler heads” in confronting this issue.
Fine, but their argument that, “[speculation on Brown’s death] needlessly undermines the trust that is essential for our civil institutions to function, and therefore it harms all of us,” demonstrates that even with a calm mind, it is possible to contribute absolutely nothing substantial to the discourse.
Trust has already been undermined. It was undermined when Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata instructed Sgt. Breanna Valentine to turn off a dashcam in an alleged attempt to mitigate the blow of evidence against Guyger. It was undermined when, per the prosecution, officers resorted to other measures to protect her. Central Track contributor Rodney Blu wrote an eloquent piece that further details the climate of skepticism surrounding Dallas’s criminal justice system and what it means, specifically for much of the black community.
So forgive a considerable portion of people in the community when they raise an eyebrow at the explanation that Brown was gunned down by two men who embarked on a 300-mile trek from Alexandria, Louisiana, to Dallas to conduct a weed transaction. (Not to be a narc or anything, but you do know there are weed dealers in New Orleans, right?) As Carl Sagan famously said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
To the Morning News, this extraordinary evidence seemingly doesn’t need to be presented to the public in order to prove its transparency. Law enforcement should be trusted by default.
Says the DMN’s October 8 editorial piece: “The fact is, the people of Dallas can trust our judicial system, our prosecutors and our law enforcement officers. This county has shown through the murders of Botham Jean and 15-year-old Jordan Edwards that we are unafraid to hold anyone accountable, including police officers, for the unjust killings of our people.”
As for today’s DMN op-ed, the editorial team approached the situation with a little more concession in saying, “When a witness in a murder case is himself murdered just days after a high-profile trial, it is both right and appropriate for a community to want answers and want answers quickly.”
It continues with “If [alleged retaliatory nature of Brown’s shooting] had turned out to be the case, it would have been beyond troubling and critically important for a peaceful society that the authorities find those responsible and bring them to justice. No murder should be tolerated, but targeting witnesses is a direct attack on our justice system.”
There’s one key component of that last paragraph that deserves emphasis: “critically important… that the authorities… bring them to justice.” Um, what?
No matter what tumultuous events may happen, it’s clear that the Morning News editorial team stays firm in its assessment that authorities shouldn’t investigate themselves.
It just also makes the mistake of being so open about it.