Columns

Dallas Police Chief Has Received Death Threats Since Protest Ambush

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a news conference providing an update on last week’s police ambush that he has received death threats since the murder of five officers.

Sniper Micah Johnson, a former Army reservist, also wounded nine officers during a march protesting officer-involved shootings of black men.

There have been additional threats made against Dallas police since the attack. Brown, who is African-American, was asked if he has personally received threats.

“Yes, me and my family have received death threats almost immediately after the shootings. We’re — as a policing family here in Dallas and across the country, there is a heightened sense of awareness around threats we received all over the country,” Brown said.

“You’ve reported many of the things happening in other cities with shootings at headquarters and other types of things, officers being shot and injured and shot and killed. So we’re at a place where we’re concerned for our safety,” the chief added.

“So I don’t want to just single out me. Everyone’s experiencing the same type of awareness, increased awareness, because of people who, in my opinion, are not stable, who could do grave damage to us. So we’re all on edge. We are. We’re all on edge and we’re being very careful.”

Brown said they’re considering all threats “as credible, whether they can be confirmed or not.”

“My particular threat was a post from a private Facebook to our Dallas Police Department Facebook. So we’ve been unable to identify the source of the threat but we’re taking it very seriously. The language was such that we have to do that for the sake of our families,” he said.

The Daily Beast reported that Johnson, who was discharged from the Army after stealing women’s underwear while deployed in Afghanistan, was blacklisted from joining black-power groups after one group did a background check on him.

The chief noted that, during the course of the investigation, one of the bomb techs called him at home “to describe his concern of how large a stockpile of bomb-making materials [Johnson] had.”

“According to that bomb tech, he knew what he was doing. This wasn’t some novice,” Brown said.

“And so what’s on his laptop, how he learned that, we don’t think he learned it in the military. At least we don’t have any evidence of that. You can learn all that online, I guess. So we’re trying to determine how he learned how to do that.”

The chief defended his decision to deliver an explosive via robot to kill Johnson in a parking-garage standoff.

“I would use any tool necessary to save our officers’ lives,” he said. “And I’m not ashamed to say it.”

Brown encouraged protesters to “become a part of that solution” to the problem of police interacting with young black men. “Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem,” he added. “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”