Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot’s Democratic challenger criticized the DA’s failure to bring police officers accused of brutality to justice last week.
While speaking to The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board on Friday, Elizabeth Frizell, Creuzot’s Democratic challenger, attacked him for failing to address police brutality and his records on bail reform.
However, Creuzot, who also took part in the virtual interview, responded by claiming he has prosecuted police officers accused of brutality.
Frizell pointed out the case of Tony Timpa, who died after Dallas Police officers attempted to restrain him by kneeling on his back for thirteen minutes while he laid face down in the grass.
Frizell also pointed out the case of Kyle Vess, a homeless, unarmed man who required hospital treatment after he was kicked and punched by a Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedic.
Creuzot dismissed the misdemeanor deadly conduct charges against the officers indicted in Timpa’s death. The DA also conceded that his office “made a mistake” regarding the paramedic involved in Vess’s case.
However, Creuzot pointed to his handling of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s case. Guyger was convicted of killing Botham Jean, an unarmed man, in his apartment. Guyger claimed she mistook his apartment for hers and thought he was an intruder.
Creuzot also said he plans to present more instances of Dallas police’s misconduct during the George Floyd protests to a grand jury as soon as he has gathered more evidence.
“We are doing all that we can,” Creuzot said.
Frizell also claimed to have not seen any evidence of Creuzot’s attempts to reform the state’s bail bond system.
Frizell maintained that she is not in support of a cash bail system. She also told the DMN that she would assign prosecutors to the jail who can be available for bond-setting hearings at all times.
“If you don’t have a lot of money, you shouldn’t be stuck in jail,” she said. “If you happen to have a lot of money and a bond was set very high appropriately for the facts, you shouldn’t be able to get out just because you have money.”
Creuzot argued that a cash bail system will always exist unless the Texas Constitution is amended. He also pointed out that judges decide a person’s bail amount and not prosecutors.
Creuzot also revealed that the county does not fund having public defenders in the jails at all hours. Therefore, prosecutors can not be in jail at all hours because constitutional law prohibits prosecutors from being in hearings without a person’s defense lawyer present.
“We still have it as a concern to be there and an objective to do that but we don’t have the power to do it,” Creuzot said.