MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — An internal investigation, according to Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine, showed that the officers involved in the death of Jawan Dallas do not pose a threat to everyday society, thus they have been released back into the field even though a grand jury has not made a decision in the case.
Jawan Dallas died July 2 after an encounter with the Mobile Police Department. Police were originally investigating a 911 call for a ‘burglary in progress’ at the Plantation Mobile Home Park in Theodore.
According to previous reporting, Dallas was tased at least twice and had a medical emergency. he died shortly afterward.
“In the case with Mr. Dallas, those officers are not a threat to the community based on the facts, and irrespective to emotion, and they are back in the field, and they are working, and they are being productive,” Prine said in Tuesday’s city council meeting.
After over 30 minutes of heated back-and-forth questions from the council, Mobile Chief of Staff James Barber stepped in to assist Prine in answering. He said that while he can’t disclose the specific cause of death, he said that his death was “not attributed directly to the actions of the police officers.”
“Even though I can’t get into detail with it because of the emotion here, I will say that the cause of death is not attributed directly to the actions of the police officers,” Barber said.
The autopsy report, toxicology report, cause of death and body camera footage has been sent to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office and will be presented before a Mobile County grand jury.
The grand jury investigation is what has held up the family’s requests as the release of any grand jury material before it is decided on would result in a felony charge under the Grand Jury Secrecy Act.
Once the grand jury makes a decision in the case, Barber said the family would be able to view the video.
“I think they have a right to see the video. I’m just waiting on the District Attorney’s Office to release it under the Grand Jury Secrecy Act so that we can proceed,” Barber said.
However, Dr. Van Daniel, one of the attorneys representing the Dallas Family, challenged that, citing HB289, which became law on Sept. 1.
As per HB289, the ‘custodial law enforcement agency’ must promptly respond to a request for body camera footage made by a personal representative of whomever is shown in the tape. In this case, the Dallas family attorneys.
“If they’re not savages of the community, and they’re true peace officers of the community, release the video so the community will know,” Dr. Daniel said.
While the city council made it clear that they are not the appropriate governing body to turn to for body camera video, they did vote to write a formal letter to the District Attorney’s Office in an effort to speed up the grand jury investigation, which would allow the Dallas family to see the body camera footage and reports sooner.
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