The Number of Fatal Shootings by Dallas Police Officers Hit a 10-year High in 2012

2012 was a year of unusual crimes in the Dallas area, as well as the worst year for shootings involving Dallas police officers in a decade.

The Dallas Morning News reported on how some crimes in the city made national headlines.

“Crimes and trials rattled North Texans, sometimes garnering national attention, all year long. A sampling includes a 2-year-old whose mother glued her to a wall, the intoxication manslaughter arrest of a Dallas Cowboys player and accusations of wrongdoing against Dallas County elected officials,” the newspaper reported.

It was also a year which led to questions about the Dallas Police Department’s willingness to use its firearms. At least 10 of more than 20 shootings involving officers in the city left a suspect dead. It was the highest death toll related to officer involved shootings since 2002.

Some of these shootings proved to be controversial. In July a suspected drug dealer was shot dead by police, sparking a near riot in the Dixon Circle area of South Dallas.

Incidents such as this were to lead Police Chief David Brown to announce new changes, including better documentation of cases in which officers fight back against suspects who resist arrest.

A better paper trail is clearly necessary because 10 deaths in police-involved shootings is a high figure. The police department is also revising its policy on foot chases after a fleeing suspect was shot dead.

The police department came under fire in two other respects.

KXAS-Channel 5?s reported at length on the high number of car crashes caused by police officers distracted by their in-car computers.

And the Dallas Police Department’s communications center came under review after a victim, 32-year-old Deanna Cook, was heard pleading for her killer to stop while on the phone with a 911 operator in August. The Dallas Morning News reported the information was not passed on to police officers and she was found dead 48 hours later.

In another case that made national headlines Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter over a car crash that left his passenger, practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown Jr., dead.

Another disturbing case to make national headlines involved Dallas mother Elizabeth Escalona, 23, who was sentenced to 99 years in prison in October for torturing her 2-year-old daughter whose hands were glued to a wall.

Wrongful convictions are less likely to make headlines but 2012 saw its fair share of miscarriages of justice coming to light.

Ricky Dale Wyatt of Dallas, Texas, for instance, was released from prison in January, 2012 after serving almost a third of a 99-year sentence for a rape he did not commit. Wyatt was incarcerated for 31 years.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.