Dallas Police Chief Removed Amid Reports of Witness Tampering
DALLAS (AP) _ Dallas Police Chief Mack Vines and his deputy were removed from duty Friday after an investigative panel reportedly found evidence of witness tampering and perjury in its probe of an officer’s firing.
City Manager Jan Hart said Vines and Assistant Chief Greg Holliday were placed on indefinite leave. She said the Dallas district attorney’s office was looking into the matter.
Ms. Hart said a panel reviewing the case of former Officer Patrick LeMaire, fired after fatally shooting an unarmed Mexican man, found ″potential witness tampering and perjury″ by Vines and Holliday.
The panel’s findings were reportedly related to an alleged conversation Vines had with Holliday before Holliday testified in front of the panel this week.
The panel apparently believes that Vines tried to get Holliday to change his testimony.
″This is a very serious matter,″ Ms. Hart said. ″It involves the integrity of the department and public confidence in the department.″
LeMaire, who shot the man last June while searching for car theft suspects, was fired for failing to find alternatives to deadly force.
A judge ordered LeMaire reinstated last month, but LeMaire decided not to return to the department.
The police department’s internal report recommending the firing reportedly was changed without the investigator’s knowledge, although the investigator’s signature remained on the document.
Neither Vines nor Holliday could be reached immediately for comment.
Assistant Chief Willard Rollins will be in charge of the department in their absence, Ms. Hart said.
Vines has been police chief since Billy Prince retired in April 1988 amid a controversy over police-minority relations.