The police chief in Dallas announced on Tuesday that she plans to resign from her post after receiving tons of backlash for the way she and her department have presided over protests in the city against law enforcement. However, absent from any reports of her looming resignation is how U. Reneé Hall — the first Black woman to be chief of police in Dallas — [mis]handled the infamous Amber Guyger shooting of Botham Jean in his own home in 2018.
Hall’s letter of resignation also made no mention of Guyger, who the police chief previously defended not firing from the force for more two weeks after the now-convicted and incarcerated former cop illegally forced her way into the 26-year-old Black man’s apartment and instantly shot him because she purportedly confused his apartment for hers. Instead, Hall, 49, focused on what she called her accomplishments while leading the Dallas Police Department (DPD) since 2017.
But the Amber Guyger episode was undoubtedly one of the low points for Hall during her DPD tenure. Not only did it take 72 hours for Guyger to be arrested but she also passed the case to the Texas Rangers, who have an alleged history of police cover-ups. When the community grilled Hall on why Guyger hadn’t been fired at that point, the police chief answered, “I can’t do that because there are both local, state and federal laws that prohibit me from taking action. There are civil service laws we have to adhere to.”
Critics said that was a lie and insisted Hall as the police chief had every right and ability to fire one of her officers — especially one charged with murder.
One day later, Hall doubled down on her refutable claim that laws prevented her from firing Guyger.
“As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. That is not a risk I am willing to take,” Hall said at the time in a statement. “We cannot let the criminal case be determined on a ’technicality’ rather than the facts. An exhaustive and thorough criminal investigation is essential, and as soon as we are assured that conducting an administrative investigation will not impede on the criminal investigation, we will proceed.”
Aside from defending Guyger’s non-firing at the time, Hall also had to answer for why Guyger’s apartment was not searched before she moved out despite DPD securing five search warrants. She never did.
Finally, 18 days after Guyger killed Jean — who was unarmed and watching TV and eating ice cream when he was executed — Hall fired the disgraced cop. The firing belied Hall’s previous claims that she was prohibited from doing so.
Conversely, in an unrelated episode one year later, Hall and her department quickly filed a felony charge against a Black woman seen on video being brutally beaten by a racist white man.
Despite all of the above and much more criticism, it apparently took protests in Dallas over George Floyd‘s police killing to push Hall to step down.
Hall is expected to officially step down as Dallas police chief on Nov. 10.