DALLAS (CN) — Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall issued a new general order to her officers late Thursday night, requiring them to stop fellow officers from using excessive force in response to protests over the death of George Floyd last week.
The new General Order 901.00 states both sworn and non-sworn members of the department now “have the obligation to protect the public” and fellow employees.
“It shall be the duty of every employee present at any scene where physical force is being applied to either stop, or attempt to stop, another employee when force is being in appropriately applied or is no longer required,” the order states.
Hall said the change is intended “to create a culture where what happened to Mr. Floyd does not happen again.”
Cities across the country have endured 10 consecutive nights of protests after four Minneapolis police officers were recorded on social media arresting Floyd, a black man, outside of a grocery store for allegedly using counterfeit money to buy groceries. For almost nine minutes, white police officer Derek Chauvin pinned a handcuffed Floyd on the neck to the ground with his knee while Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe and pleaded for his deceased mother. Floyd became unresponsive and later died.
Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder. Officers Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder. All four men have been fired.
Hall acknowledged that Floyd was “suffocated to death” by Chauvin.
“His fellow co-workers either assisted or stood by and watched Mr. Floyd take his last breath,” she said. “Had the officer’s partners intervened, the outcome might have been different.”
Hall also announced Thursday night that 674 protesters arrested on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on Monday will not face criminal charges. Police have been heavily criticized for allegedly trapping protesters on both sides of the bridge and firing less-lethal ammunition at them. The protesters were handcuffed and detained in spite of the bridge not being within the city’s 7 p.m. curfew zone in downtown.
Dallas police have also been criticized for shooting Brandon Saenz, 26, in the left eye with a less-lethal projectile during a peaceful protest near city hall on May 30. Saenz was hospitalized for several days and endured multiple surgeries after losing his eye, seven teeth and suffering facial fractures. He has demanded answers from Hall and has asked the public for help in identifying the officer who shot him.
Hall is the first black female police chief in Dallas’ history. She previously served until 2017 as a deputy chief in Detroit.