September 10, 2020

Dallas is at a defining moment. George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officers sparked a national reckoning with policing and police violence targeting Black people. In Dallas, there is a long legacy of police violence that has resulted in the killings of Clinton Allen, Genevive Dawes, Botham Jean, and Allen Simpson. Throughout the summer, thousands of people took to the streets of Dallas to demand fundamental changes in policing. 

This report documents the ongoing practice of discriminatory policing in Dallas. Black people make up only 24% of the City of Dallas population, but 37% of traffic stops, 49% of all arrests, 63% of marijuana possession arrests, and 53% of people killed by the Dallas Police Department. Black people in Dallas are suffering disproportionately at the hands of police.

The underlying problem with policing is not just a lack of training and procedures or a problem with “bad apples” — it is the broadening of the scope and responsibilities of police, enabled by expanding budgets, that has spurred street-level harassment of communities of color, fueled mass incarceration, and led to the unlawful use of excessive force and killing of Black people. Around the country and across the state, cities are taking action to fundamentally reimagine the role of police in communities. They are disbanding problematic units, allocating funding for non-police public health and safety initiatives, and reducing police budgets.

This report urges Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and the Dallas City Council to be bold. We are asking them to reimagine public safety by shifting 37% of the proposed Dallas Police Department budget for the upcoming fiscal year — $200 million — into non-police public health and safety initiatives. This report also includes recommendations to: (1) further restrict when and how officers can use deadly force; (2) limit discretionary arrests for citation-eligible offenses; (3) enforce a range of non- serious offenses through alternatives to policing; and (4) strengthen community police oversight.