Recent actions by the City of Arlington Police Department has prompted a coalition of Arlington diverse community activists to take a keen interest in the department’s policies, procedures, and practices.  The coalition of activists has organized to identify, assess, and recommend police policy enhancements to city management and policymakers for the benefit of all ethnic communities in Arlington, Texas.  The following are examples of the coalition’s foremost serious concerns regarding a pattern of indecisive police leadership policy application. 


Recently, a Fort Worth Star-Telegram news story reported that Officer Ravi Singh, who shot and killed Margarita Brooks as he fired at a charging dog, had resigned. The news story also reported Officer Singh’s resignation had ended the police department’s administrative investigation into his conduct.  The lack of a timely administrative decision prior to the officer’s resignation is a concern.  

The shooting incident occurred on August 1, 2019.  Approximately three months elapsed and Chief Will Johnson failed to determine whether departmental or city policy was violated.  This absence of a decision by Chief Johnson is troubling.  The application of administrative policy should be clear cut.  Either the policy is profoundly ambiguous or Chief Johnson is incapable for unknown reasons to make a timely decision.  


“Either the policy is profoundly ambiguous or Chief Johnson is incapable for unknown reasons to make a timely decision. “ 


Last year on September 1, 2018, Arlington police officer Bau Tran shot and killed 24-year-old O’Shae Terry during a traffic violation stop.  The criminal investigation into the shooting was completed and its findings and evidence were forwarded to the Tarrant County Grand Jury. The police department’s administrative investigation to determine whether Officer Tran followed policies was prolonged for over 8 months and Chief Johnson failed to take administrative action until after the Tarrant County grand jury indicted Officer Tran on a charge of criminally negligent homicide.  

On or about May 17, 2019, Chief Johnson finally fired Officer Tran for violating the department’s use of force policy.  How could this be conceivably possible?  It’s not like if Chief Johnson was dealing with the grand mysterious who-dun-it case. Administratively the facts of the case were clear and so was the department’s Use of Force policy. 

Chief Johnson’s indecisiveness is contrary to the principles of procedural justice which are based on treating people with dignity and respect, giving citizens ‘voice’ during encounters, being neutral in decision making, and conveying trustworthy motives.  Research has demonstrated  these principles contribute to better relationships between police and the community in that the community has trust and confidence in the police as honest, unbiased, benevolent, and lawful.  Additionally, the community feels obligated to follow the law and the dictates of legal authorities, and feels it shares a common set of interests and values with the police. 

Unfortunately, Chief Johnson’s indecisions make his smooth talk about procedural justice dubious and irrelevant.  It is the diverse community activists’ coalition’s conviction residents of Arlington, Texas deserve much better from their police leadership.  The coalition has appealed to the Mayor and City Council to ensure Chief Johnson is making prompt administrative decisions based on established policies.


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