Dallas Police Charge 3 Officers In Alleged Beating

Three Dallas police officers, including one who was fired, will face criminal charges for their alleged roles in the beating of a suspect, which was caught on video by dashboard cameras, the police chief said Wednesday.

Andrew Collins, 28, suffered bruising and blood clots earlier this month after being struck by officers, who hit him about seven times with their fists and batons. The alleged beating lasted about 14 seconds following a chase.

The video, which the department distributed to reporters, shows one of the officers moving the dashboard camera so that it does not film the incident.

"This won't be tolerated," police Chief David Brown said. "This is not indicative of the Dallas Police Department. No one incident defines our character."

Of the 22 officers who responded to the scene, one was black, Brown said. At least two were Hispanic, and the rest were white. Brown said there is no indication that race was a factor and no racial slurs were heard on the radio transmissions or recordings.

Brown also appealed for calm, asking citizens to "examine the evidence in this case" and the department's "thoroughness and transparency."

"The city is very anxious to demonstrate to the black community that times have changed in Dallas," NPR's Wade Goodwyn told All Things Considered co-host David Greene. "That if this sort of thing is going to happen in 2010, the city is not going to tolerate either the beating itself or the attempt to cover up the fact that it happened."

Goodwyn also notes that though the officers involved were white and the motorcycle rider black, no racial slur could be heard while the beating was going on.

"So while you might be able to infer that race was a factor in this, and I think many people are inferring that, there is as of yet no direct evidence," he said.

Officers Kevin Randolph and Paul Bauer will face misdemeanor charges of assault and official oppression, Brown said. The two men, along with Officer Henry Duetsch, also each face a felony charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Randolph, who was still on probation after being hired in March 2009, was fired Wednesday, Brown said. The other two officers face internal affairs investigations.

Three other officers were assigned to desk duty and also face internal investigations, Brown said.

The FBI has started a civil rights investigation, Brown said. The chief also said he planned to meet with several community groups later Wednesday.

J.J. Koch, Randolph's attorney, said his client was fired because he had not completed his probationary period.

Randolph is "considered an at-will employee and they don't have the appeals rights that other officers have," Koch said. "Right now, it's simply a matter of waiting for the criminal process and waiting for the completion of the investigation and we'll address issues as they come up."

Bauer did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

Duetsch answered the phone at his home but hung up after confirming he was a police officer.

Collins' father and pastor did not immediately respond to phone messages left by the AP. Collins has an extensive criminal record that includes convictions on drug, weapons and drunk driving charges, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records. Five of his previous eight arrests were by Dallas police, including one in April on drug charges.

Brown said he has dropped a resisting arrest charge against Collins. It wasn't immediately clear if he will face other charges.

The incident began around 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 5, when Randolph and Bauer saw Collins riding a motorcycle on a sidewalk. Police tried to pull him over, and the video shows Collins repeatedly allowing police to close in before he speeds away.

On the video recording, one of the officers can be heard saying that he planned to "beat the [expletive]" out of Collins once they pulled him over.

It is unclear from the video whether Collins voluntarily pulled over or was bumped by the squad car. But the video shows his motorcycle tipping over, and the officers jumping out and striking him. They quickly subdue and handcuff Collins, the video shows.

Video from a second car arriving after Collins is handcuffed records the scene for several minutes. Then an officer walks toward the car, whistling. The camera then moves so Collins and the officers are no longer visible.

Brown said an officer deliberately moved the camera and Randolph and Bauer ignored their boss' order to not chase after Collins.

Both officers were new to the department, and Brown said he wants to "review the pairing of young officers with each other."

Brown also said he has spoken with Collins' father and pastor, whom he described as being initially apprehensive.

"But once the conversation was complete, there was appreciation for the transparency and honesty," Brown said.

With material from The Associated Press

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