Dallas Officers Charged In Alleged Beating

The Dallas Police Department filed criminal charges against three officers involved in the beating of a motorcyclist who led them on a high-speed chase. The police released dashboard camera video of the incident.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

DAVID GREENE, host:

And I'm David Greene.

We go now to Dallas, where a crackly video from the dashboard camera of a police car is making news.

(Soundbite of video recording)

Unidentified Man #1: (Unintelligible)

Unidentified Man #2: (Unintelligible)

GREENE: What unfolds in this video has three police officers facing criminal charges for beating a motorcyclist after a chase.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced the charges today and released the dashboard videotape of the incident. Brown said he sees no racial motivation in the beating: The officers are white and the motorcyclist black.

To talk more about this story, we're joined by NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

Hi, Wade.

WADE GOODWYN: Hello.

GREENE: So you've checked out this videotape. Give us a sense of what you see. Well, it's the police dashboard camera. It shows a young black man on a motorcycle. It starts off with him on the sidewalk, and they kind of shine their light on and he takes off down the street. And he's chased by the police for three minutes, this young man, Andrew Collins. He speeds the wrong way down one-way streets, goes through a red light.

A couple of times, the police car catches up to him but he'll gun it and take off again. But eventually, the motorcyclist Collins pulls over and stops. The two officers jump out of their cars, scream at him to get on the ground, which he does, and they immediately begin hitting him with their batons and then their fists. They handcuff him, pull him away from the front of the car, which pulls him out of view of the dashboard camera, then we can't really see what happens after that.

But those two officers, Kevin Randolph and Paul Bauer, are going to be charged with assault, official oppression and tampering with physical evidence. And Randolph was fired because he is a new officer still on probation.

GREENE: So the driver not initially cooperative but eventually stops, and then we see the violence happening.

GOODWYN: Right. There's a third officer who's going to be charged. He's being charged with tampering with physical evidence. And then there are three more officers on restricted duty pending further investigation.

GREENE: Well, Police Chief David Brown in Dallas was pretty adamant today that this type of behavior by officers will not be tolerated. What other official reaction has there been to the incident?

GOODWYN: Well, Mayor Leppert spoke today, had a press conference and condemned the attacks, called it absolutely unacceptable. The police chief, David Brown, who is black, said no one's above the law of this great country. And I expect officers observing any of their peers violating the law or the department's rules to report those violations immediately. This won't be tolerated.

And that did not happen here. This might have gone unreported, except for somebody inside the police department tipped off a supervisor. So somebody who is either involved in the arrest or heard about the arrest kind of quietly turned anonymous whistleblower.

GREENE: And we should say that this incident, even though the videotape is making news today, happened what, a week or so ago?

GOODWYN: Yes, September 5th.

GREENE: And the police chief, David Brown, also appealed for calm today, asked citizens to examine all of the evidence in the case before coming to conclusions. Obviously, there's concern about reaction to this tape in the black community in the city.

GOODWYN: Yeah. I agree. The city is very anxious to demonstrate to the black community that times have changed in Dallas; that this kind of thing is going to happen in 2010. The city is not going to tolerate either the beating itself nor the attempt to cover up the fact that it happened.

The officers involved are white, the motorcycle rider is black. But there was no racial slurs you could hear 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 here are inferring that, there is as of yet no direct evidence.

GREENE: And real briefly, Wade, what happens next?

GOODWYN: Well, the - more investigation. The FBI is coming in. The Dallas Police Department Internal Affairs is going to investigate. So I'm sure we're not done yet.

GREENE: Thank you, Wade.

GOODWYN: It's my pleasure.

GREENE: NPR's Wade Goodwyn reporting from Dallas.

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