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Embattled Police Officer Fired after Excessive Force against Protester

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Former police officer Melvin Williams | Image by G.J. McCarthy / File Photo

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On January 25, Chief Eddie Garcia fired 40-year-old Senior Corporal Melvin Williams from the Dallas Police Department.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Garcia chose not to comment further on the officer’s termination, stating the decision “speaks for itself.”

Williams had served on the force since 2006.

This disciplinary action against the officer followed his placement on paid administrative leave after he was investigated for punching a man five times while dispersing a Deep Ellum fight on July 18, 2021.

Within video footage that surfaced after the incident, two other officers can be seen tugging their colleague, Williams, away from the punched man.

Williams has the right to appeal his termination under civil-service rules; however, he still faces a misdemeanor assault charge associated with the July 18 fight.

Attorney Robert Rogers, legal counsel for Williams, said in a statement: “[Williams] used lawful force in dealing with a combative suspect. I look forward to clearing his name through the judicial and civil appeal process.”

Williams also has two other cases against him under investigation for the use of excessive force.

Both of the cases resulted from protests in Downtown Dallas after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May of 2020. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted for Floyd’s murder in April of 2021.

During the 2020 protests, Vincent Doyle, a 23-year-old aspiring journalist, was reportedly hit in the face with a 40mm less-lethal launcher (sponge-round ammunition) discharged by Williams. Doyle is left with forty-percent of the vision in his left eye. He also suffered a shattered cheekbone. 

There is speculation regarding the date of that incident: May 30 or May 31 of 2020.

Although a grand jury chose not to indict Williams in November of 2021, the office of Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot filed a misdemeanor assault charge against him on behalf of the victim the following month.

The office subsequently obtained an arrest warrant, and Williams surrendered to DeSoto Police without incident.

The other case involves Brandon Saenz, who also participated in the May 2020 Downtown Dallas protest where Williams and two other Dallas officers allegedly used excessive force against him. Saenz was shot in the face with a 40mm less-lethal launcher; he lost an eye and seven teeth, and the left side of his face was fractured.

The Saenz case has not yet gone before a grand jury.

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