Dispatches from Dallas, July 21 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in news from the Metroplex, a big police expose in the DMN, the seventh anniversary of the July 7 Dallas police ambush, Six Degrees of Clarence Thomas and his Cowboys connection, how Dallas is dealing with state regulation of cities’ ability to regulate, short-term rentals, Texas Monthly’s deep dive on Highland Park real estate dealings, and the candidate plans for the DMA’s expansion. Plus: the season opening of cricket, the opening of Meow Wolf in Grapevine, and some baby cranes.

If you take nothing else away from this post, please read this Dallas Morning News expose on the investigation into former DPD officer Christopher Hess, who ultimately killed a woman on the job. He was indicted for aggravated assault and DPD fired him at that time. While Hess was acquitted, the lawsuits around the killing of Genevieve Dawes continue.

This story is not about Dawes and what Hess did to her. This story is about all the times DPD could and should have stopped him for abusing citizens before he got to the point of killing one. (Accordingly, consider yourself warned for police violence and homicide in the story. I did not watch the videos; the story was enough.)

To go with the investigation, I give you a handful of law enforcement headlines in Dallas area news sources I read from the last two weeks: Dallas police officer gets 5-day suspension for making challenge coin decried as racist; Civilian driver killed during Forth Worth police chase; In Unrelated Cases, 3 People Have Died Following Arrests by Dallas Police in 2023; Cases dismissed against 3 former Tarrant County jailers charged in jail beating; Former Sanger officer indicted on excessive use of force charges (in Denton County); Fort Worth police officer shot and killed man before identifying himself, body cam footage shows; and in one piece of not-so-terrible news, Dallas police chief fires officer who was arrested on family violence assault charge. Police violence is so normalized in the Metroplex, and probably where you are too, that none of those headlines excite any notice. Yet they add up to cases like the Christopher Hess story that really shock the conscience.

I don’t have an easy answer to what we do about police violence, but something needs to be done. Probably a lot of somethings, and I need to figure out where I can put my shoulder to the wheel on this issue.

In other news:

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