What evidence? Charges dropped for former Dallas police officer who was arrested on capital murder charges

DALLAS, TX– A former Dallas police officer who was arrested on capital murder charges and terminated from the police force in March, has been released following a preliminary hearing where the charges against him were dropped.

Former police officer Bryan Riser had been accused of ordering three men, Kevin Kidd, Emmanuel Kilpatrick, and Jermon Simmons, to kill Albert Douglas and Lisa Saenz in 2017. At the time of the arrest, Riser was a veteran of the force since 2008.

On March 4th, he was booked into the Dallas County Jail and his bond was set at $5 million, $2.5 million per capital murder charge.

During a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning, April 8th, Dallas County Criminal Court Judge Audrey Moorehead agreed with prosecutors for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and said there was insufficient evidence against Riser to support probable cause in the case. 

During the hearing, prosecutor Jason Fine said:

“We have an obligation, under the U.S. Constitution, under the Texas Constitution, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, under our duty as prosecutors, to see that justice is done.

If we get to a point in any case, no matter who the defendant is, no matter who the witnesses are, that we feel there is insufficient probable cause, we have to alert the defense and alert the court. We have to do something. We can’t just sit by.”

Riser, who has maintained his innocence since the charges were announced, made his own announcement to the media after he was released. He said:

“This department I used to love and respect, they have disrespected me. They’ve embarrassed me and they’ve embarrassed my family all over make believe lies. I was 100% innocent from the get go. I just want to go be with my family.”

Also in court during the hearing was Riser’s wife and brother, who is a Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Eboni Samuel-Rise, Riser’s wife, said:

“The truth is finally coming out and that is what we are here for, the truth. DPD owes us an apology at this point.”

Riser’s attorney, Toby Shook said in a statement:

“I would hope this investigation comes under review and how this decision was made so quickly to arrest him, which triggered this whole thing.”

Dallas County prosecutors repeatedly stated that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Riser and that they had been in communication with Dallas Police about the case and the lack of probable cause since 2019.

In a statement, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said:

“As this office stated during an examining trial earlier today, there is insufficient probable cause in the two capital murder cases against former Dallas police officer Byran Riser.

Because of this officer’s obligations under the law, we alerted the defense team and the judge of our opinion that there currently is insufficient corroboration of co-defendant statements and accomplice testimony to prosecute the case.”

He added:

“This does not mean the investigation is closed. We look forward to continuing our work with the Dallas Police Department on this or any other cases that are investigations in the city of Dallas.”

Dallas police said that they respect the judge’s decision, but that they followed the legal process and presented two probable cause affidavits to a district judge for review and that sufficient probable cause was found at that time.

Dallas police said:

“The detectives assigned to this investigation are committed to seeing justice being served for the victims and their families and we fully support their efforts. The investigation remains open and ongoing.”

Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia said that he was disappointed to learn the charges were dropped.

He reiterated the statement saying that while the department respects the judge’s decision, they had a probable cause affidavit approved by a judge before placing Riser under arrest and that he could not have been arrested without the affidavit.

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Dallas murder rate for 2020 hits highest level in more than 15 years – 251 murders

January 2nd, 2021

DALLAS, TX – The year of 2020 has been tough for many cities, and Dallas is one of them. Data regarding the number of homicides within the city details that murders have reached a high not seen in 16 years

When Dallas ushered in the new year, it left behind a troubling 2020 – as there were a recorded 251 murders within the city throughout the year. Which two of the murders reportedly transpired within the last hour of 2020. 

Sheldon Smith, who serves as the president of the Dallas chapter of the National Black Police Association, stated the disturbing trends that have been impacting Dallas:

“It’s almost one [murder] every night. They happen downtown, they happen in southern Dallas, North Dallas. They’re occurring all over the place.”

During the last nine days of 2020, the city was seeing more than just an average of one murder a night – as there were a total of 13 homicides that occurred during that span of time. 

While Dallas had been impacted by a soaring murder rate in 2020, the DPD’s homicide unit has been hosting an impressive figure in clearance rates of homicide investigations – boasting a 79% rate to date for the year. 

There’s divided opinions on what exactly led to such a violent 2020 in Dallas. With so many unique factors attributed to 2020, such as the protests/riots and the adverse effects of the pandemic relating to the economy, naming one specific element as the primary impetus is difficult. 

Mike Mata, who serves as the president of the Dallas Police Association, brought a unique perspective regarding how the pandemic may have influenced the types of crimes committed by criminals.

Mata suggested that with how the pandemic affected businesses like bars and restaurants – namely, with many being closed – perhaps criminals that may have normally been pickpockets in those establishments could’ve altered their criminal behavior to entertain crimes like armed robberies elsewhere. 

Obviously, the likelihood of an armed robbery evolving into fatal violence is substantially higher than someone engaging in pickpocketing. 

But overall, even Mata can’t firmly say what has caused the uptick in homicides in Dallas: 

“I think there’s a lot of different ingredients in this rise in crime, but we’ve got to get control of it.”

Another aspect unique to 2020 in Dallas was of course the strings of murders allegedly committed by 31-year-old Jeremy Harris, which his alleged acts were coined as being one akin to that of a serial killer

One of the city’s first murders was that of 28-year-old Dominique White, who was gunned down back in January allegedly by 28-year-old Jimmy Markell Chisolm. 

The victim’s mother, Angela, described the impact her son’s death had on his four children. One of Dominique owns daughters said that she wished she could die so that she could be with her dad again, according to Angela:

“I said, ‘What about us?’ She said, ‘Well, I’ll right come right back.’ I say, ‘You won’t be able to come back when you see him.’ She said, ‘I just want to hold him, Nana.’”

Eddie Garcia, who is slated as the incoming police chief, stated that tackling violent crime in Dallas is going to be his top priority:

“I will take a reduction personally…It’s not just the numbers. It’s the perception of crime – both the perception and the numbers have to go in a better direction.”

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Back in November of 2020, Angela White spoke more in depth about how the community has been impacted by the increasing murder rate in Dallas. She stated that it had gotten to the point where young children were rhetorically asking if they “were next”. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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DALLAS, TX – A mother who knows all too well about the heartache that comes with losing a son due to senseless violence recently spoke up about what other children are worried about in their city. 

Namely, that concern being if they’ll be “next” on list growing list of murders in Dallas. 

Angela White lost her son, who was albeit an adult at the time, but suffers nonetheless. Dominique was her only child – who was a father at the time when he was murdered. 

No parent wants to see their child buried before themselves, whether that child is an adult or an adolescent.

But Dominique’s murder was just one of many that have plagued the city of Dallas in 2020, with his being noted as one of the first murders in a dismal year for the city regarding homicides. 

White’s son was murdered around the Redbird area of Dallas on January 15th – with now the city having seen more than 200 murders since November 15th. 

What weighs heavy on White’s heart is what she’s hearing from children in the area: 

“I’m upset about the little children that walk around now asking ‘am I next?’”

It’s a disturbing sentiment to contemplate, with young children bearing concern of whether their life will be cut short due to rampant violence.

While White acknowledges that her son’s murder is not relative to the recent spike in violence in Dallas, she coined her son as being a part of that statistic nonetheless: 

“My son is not a connection to the present violence that is going on, but he is a victim now…He had a name, he had a life, he left footprints, but now he’s a victim.”

But White also noted that what started with her son’s senseless killing early-on in 2020 has only gotten worse within the city she calls home: 

“Domonique was my only child, he was a father and a family man. For me to have lost my only child to childish behavior it’s devastating, it’s still devastating to me and the violence didn’t just end with my son. It continued and progressed.”

As of November 9th, Dallas has played host to 204 homicides. For the sake of perspective, this time last year there were 173. When it relates to aggravated assault, the increase in those crimes have jumped up over 30% this year. 

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata says that the only way to get to the bottom of many of these murders is through the assistance of the public: 

“These crimes are not committed in a bubble. Some people know who committed these crimes, some people know who committed these shootings and these murders and they need to help the Dallas Police Department.

“They need to pick up that phone and help their own communities.”

Mata says that if locals within the community don’t adhere to the prior sentiments of informing police about suspected malefactors, then that only affords the criminals more opportunity to victimize community members: 

“If not they’re just going to go out there and look for more victims. And that victim, that victim is going to be your brother, that victim is going to be your mother, father, your sister, your wife or your kids.”

When remarking on the increase in aggravated assaults, Mata explained that more often than not – those were merely unsuccessful attempts at murdering someone: 

“Just remember an agg assault, for the most part, a lot of times, is just somebody who has a bad aim. It’s usually somebody who intended to commit a murder [and] either 1: they missed, or 2: they did hit the complainant and didn’t kill them.”

With the uptick in the various crimes, Mata also pointed out that they’re down roughly 700-800 officers to keep crime in check: 

“To be honest with you, we can’t keep up. Not if the crime is going to keep going like this.”

Mirroring the sentiments of Mata, White explained that as long as people are willing to remain silent then the violence will continue to effect families in various forms of loss: 

“If we choose to say nothing, then everything continues to happen. If we choose to ignore a problem, then it will always be a situation.”

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The post What evidence? Charges dropped for former Dallas police officer who was arrested on capital murder charges appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Jenna Curren


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