DALLAS – Leading civil rights groups and Dallas community organizations today sent a letter to Mayor Eric Johnson and the Dallas City Council demanding an end to unnecessary arrests for cite-and-release eligible offenses.
The organizations signing the letter include the ACLU of Texas, Dallas Community Police Oversight Coalition, Equal Justice Center, Mi Familia Vota, Mothers Against Police Brutality, RAICES, Texas Appleseed, and Workers Defense Action Fund. The coalition of community advocacy groups are urging Dallas to act on the recommendation of the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, of which Mayor Johnson is a member, to limit arrests. They are calling on Dallas to follow the example of other cities in Texas – such as Austin and San Antonio – by passing an ordinance requiring citations instead of arrests for certain offenses. Dallas residents paid millions to arrest and jail people for low-level citation-eligible offenses in 2019. Many of these arrests disproportionately affect people of color.
“Dallas needs a cite-and-release policy to reduce discriminatory policing and better protect public health and safety,” said Nick Hudson, policy & advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas. “Cite-and-release is a smarter, fairer, and more cost-effective way to handle minor offenses - especially during the pandemic.”
“Even amongst the worst public health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, Dallas continues its cruel practice of tearing families apart,” said Amelia Casas, Dallas policy coordinator for Workers Defense Action Fund. “In a year filled with disappointing displays of failed leadership, Dallas can begin taking steps to restore some dignity to our city by passing an ordinance eliminating discretionary arrests that lead to the arrest to deportation pipeline.”
All organizations are open to discussing additional recommendations with Dallas leaders and working together to find strong solutions.
A copy of the letter can be found here: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_dallas_mayor_and_council.pdf