Pink slips come with a hashtag these days as
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown (PDF) takes to Twitter and
Facebook to announce the firing of misbehaving employees—and the
reasons for their dismissal. Given the extraordinary power that
police wield, and some high-profile and controversial abuses by
officers in the department, that may be a very public way of
establishing that Dallas police are doing something about their
In October, Dallas
Police Officer Cardan Spencer got the boot after video footage
contradicted his story about a confrontation with a mentally ill
four officers were fired on December 30 for a variety of
reasons, including domestic violence, public intoxication, and
shooting an unarmed man who had his hands raised in the air.
The officer in that last incident, Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn,
lost her job (as did the others) after a hearing before Chief
statement released on Facebook said, “The Internal Affairs
investigation concluded that Senior Corporal Wilburn violated the
Department’s Use of Deadly Force policy when she fired upon an
unarmed person without fear or justification.” It then gave a
detailed rationale for the department’s conclusions.
I have terminated SC Amy Wilburn today for firing her weapon
upon an unarmed person without fear or justification.
The other firings and disciplinary actions were also tweeted and
announced on Facebook.
In an era when police misconduct is commonly caught on video for
the YouTube-viewing world to see, announcing via social media that
there are consequences for that misbehavior might be a way to
rebuild bridges to the public.
Especially if behavior improves.
The Dallas PD has
suffered pushback in the past when attempting to hold officers
accountable for things like obeying the traffic laws they enforce,
so we’ll have to see if this experiment lasts.
(H/T to CNet’s
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/07/firings-of-misbehaving-dallas-cops-annou