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Dallas Chief to Fully Investigate Shooting Death of Unarmed Man

Dallas Chief to Fully Investigate Shooting Death of Unarmed Man

Police Chief David Brown [AP]

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

November 02, 2010

Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Monday promised a full investigation into a police shooting that left an unarmed man dead and led some community activists to allege that the killing was racially motivated.

An 11-year-old boy was also grazed by a bullet in the shooting at an east Oak Cliff apartment complex. His injuries were not serious.

“I will ensure that a complete and thorough investigation is done, and I encourage any and all witnesses to come forward and give detectives a sworn affidavit,” Brown said.

Brown’s written statement came on the same day community activists alleged publicly that the officer who shot 25-year-old Tobias Arthur Mackey to death Friday night at the Cedar Garden apartments may have done so because Mackey is black. Officer Matthew Tate, who fired the deadly shots, and Sgt. Kenneth Chapin, who was with Tate, are both white.

“They’ve got to stop killing African American men, unjustly,” said the Rev. Ronald Wright of Justice Seekers Texas, a civil rights organization based in Oak Cliff. “We want the police to police. The biggest gang problem right now in Dallas is not gangs, it’s the Police Department, and that’s scary.”

Police say Tate, Chapin and three other officers were on foot patrol in the crime-ridden complex in the 3800 block of Bonnie View Road near East Illinois Avenue on Friday night in response to community complaints about crime.

As Tate and Chapin approached a breezeway, they were confronted by Mackey, according to police. He concealed his hands and ignored the officers’ instructions to show his hands, police said. He also made sudden movements, prompting Tate to fire at least four times, according to witnesses.

A stray bullet hit 11-year-old Xavion Collins, who was walking through the complex to buy a soda. The boy was treated for an arm wound and released, police said.

Police believe the deadly encounter lasted just a few seconds.

The Dallas police Special Investigations Unit is investigating the case, which will be referred to the Dallas County district attorney’s office. Tate remains on administrative leave.

Police said in a written statement Monday evening that they had met with relatives of Mackey and Xavion “to discuss the status of the case with them and gave those family members in attendance the opportunity to provide additional information as well, including the identities of other potential witnesses.”

At a news conference earlier Monday in southern Dallas attended by other Mackey relatives, some community activists suggested the shooting is part of a larger systemic issue.

Asked specifically whether he thought the shooting was racially motivated, the Rev. Peter Johnson, a Dallas civil rights activist, said, “We have to face up to the problem of bigotry in the hearts of white people in Dallas.”

“Stop ducking this, acting like they’re shooting for some other reason,” Johnson said. “The fact that they don’t shoot white boys ought to let you know.”

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, whose City Council district includes the site of the shooting, said in an interview, “Race has nothing to do with this at all.”

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