In The News

Charge Dropped Against Dallas Officer

Who Drew Gun on Urinating Man


Article
by JENNIFER EMILYE
Dallas Morning News
Tuesday Saturday, May 18, 2010



The Dallas County district attorney's office on Monday dismissed a deadly conduct charge against a Dallas police officer who, while off duty, pointed a gun at a 23-year-old man who was urinating on a wall.

Senior Cpl. Mike Jones aimed his weapon at Brandon Schroder and ordered him to his knees after Schroder failed to show his hands despite repeated demands. The encounter took place last July outside an apartment building on Washington Avenue in Old East Dallas.

The case against the officer was to go to trial Wednesday. One of Jones' defense attorneys, David Finn, said he believes a jury would have voted not guilty within minutes.

"With a jury trial less than 48 hours away, the prosecution came to its senses and did the right thing," Finn said.

"It is pretty clear that the complainant [Schroder] had absolutely no desire to go through a jury trial wherein he'd be placed under oath and subjected to a very vigorous cross-examination," he said. "Hopefully, Officer Jones can get back to doing what he has done exceptionally well for a number of years – namely, protecting Dallas citizens and fighting crime."

George Milner III, another defense attorney who represented Jones, said they had planned to call several expert witnesses to testify that Jones did "precisely what he is both authorized and trained to do."

Finn and Milner represented Jones for free.

Jamille Bradfield, spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, said the case was dismissed because Schroder didn't want to go forward with it.

"The Dallas Police Department conducted its own investigation, issued an arrest warrant for Officer Jones and filed the case with the district attorney's office for prosecution," Bradfield said.

"The victim in this case decided he did not want to pursue prosecution and submitted an affidavit of nonprosecution," she said.

"The case was dismissed in the interest of justice because it is extremely difficult to prove this type of case without the full cooperation of the victim. However, the district attorney's office was fully prepared to prosecute this case based on the facts provided to us by the Dallas Police Department's probable cause affidavit."

Schroder, who was ticketed for urinating on the wall, could not be reached for comment.

He signed an affidavit May 5 asking the district attorney not to prosecute. The affidavit does not say why he didn't want the case to go forward.

Originally, Schroder filed a complaint with the department saying that Jones screamed at him to stop, pulled out a gun and ordered him to his knees.

Prosecutors did not refer the case to a grand jury, which is not required for misdemeanor charges.

The district attorney's original decision to go forward with a deadly conduct charge against Jones riled officers throughout the Police Department. They said Jones was just doing his job.

"It's a good deal. Obviously, the complainant rethought it and wanted it dismissed. It put the officer through a tremendous amount of grief and aggravation," said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association.

White said that he believed it was wrong for prosecutors to short-circuit the grand jury process and to pursue the criminal case against Jones in the first place.

"It sent a really poor and bad message to officers on the Police Department thinking that anytime they take an action, the DA's office is probably going to be second guessing what they're doing and possibly criminally charging them," he said.

Police records show that the confrontation occurred around 6:45 p.m. at the AMLI at Cityplace apartments, where, at the time, Jones had an apartment and provided security work.

Jones wrote in his report that he had just returned to the apartments when he saw Schroder, who was wearing swimming trunks, urinating on the wall. He said he told Schroder to stop and go somewhere else but Schroder continued to urinate.

Jones then identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge.

Then Jones pointed his service weapon at Schroder and ordered the man to his knees.

Schroder and his friends had spent the day drinking and hanging out at the complex pool, according to a court records.

Jones, who joined the department in 1999, had faced a Class A misdemeanor charge.

If convicted, he could have been jailed for a year and fined up to $4,000.

Jones has been on restricted duty. Finn said his client hoped to return to his regular duties soon.

Staff writer Tanya Eiserer contributed to this report.

 

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