A white Dallas police officer is on administrative leave as the department investigates allegations he made and attempted to sell a challenge coin that the Black Police Association decried as racist.
Chief Eddie García told a press conference Wednesday that the officers’ design for the South Central Patrol Division coin stained the department. He apologized to the community. Police said South Dallas is a prioritysomething they reiterated after two mass shootings there this spring.
“I don’t have it,” García said. “It’s not going to continue on my watch. We have a standard at the Dallas Police Department. I won’t allow any individual to defile this and tarnish our badge and what we do.
“If there’s a culture problem here, I’ll change it or die trying,” he added.
Terrance Hopkins, president of the Black Police Association, said he was extremely disturbed because some people saw the piece and did not report it.
On one side, the coin features a drug house and an altered image of the Pillsbury Doughboy, who has gold teeth and is holding cash and a gun. Hopkins said the image refers to a drug dealer named Doughboy from the film Boyz in the hood.
The words “Big ‘T’ Plaza” are strewn across the middle of the room, which Hopkins says refers to Dallas. mall frequented by black shoppers. A police cruiser sits to one side of the room, directly across from a purple car that Hopkins says has gold rims and large wheels and resembles vehicles driven by black people in the area. The piece also had numbers beaten up by police that referred to South Dallas.
The front of the coin shows a Dallas police badge with the words “South Central” and “15 Years” at the top and bottom.
The South Central division covers southern parts of Dallas, including east and southeast Oak Cliff, and parts of Red Bird. It includes the area between State Highway 67 and Interstate 45.
A screenshot of a Facebook post – which was shared in a group of Dallas Police Association members – said the piece was made in honor of the South Central Patrol Division’s 15th anniversary.
Mike Mata, the head of the Dallas Police Association, said he had no knowledge of the position until someone brought it to his attention. He said it was “removed immediately”.
Mata shared the message he sent to members of the Dallas Police Association. He wrote that “when a person or organization makes an error in judgment or error, they must own it moving forward.” He said he thought the piece and the post were in poor taste and “didn’t belong on the DPA members page.”
“I understand that it is my responsibility to maintain the moral compass of the DPA Members Page,” Mata wrote. “I would like to apologize to anyone who has been hurt or offended by the post and promise to be more diligent in my duties to ensure that this organization and the media sites within it respect all members .”
The author of the Facebook post asked for $10 for each piece and said the pieces could be delivered by the first week of October. People interested in buying a coin could pay through Venmo. It is not known how many pieces were sold.
The officer Venmo was listed on, Caleb McCollum, could not be reached for comment. Records show he was assigned to the Southwest Patrol Division. His Venmo account shows payouts for various coins, including other patrol areas. A person who bought “3x SC coins” got a refund on Tuesday, according to the account.
“Officers and the community are asking questions,” Hopkins said. “These questions are, ‘Is this how white officers see us in our community? Is this the only vision they have of black people? There are too many good things happening in the Southern community for this to be the only way some people see us.
García said the post was removed as soon as it came to the attention of commanders. He said commanders discovered him on Tuesday evening. It was unclear when information about the piece was first released or if images have appeared elsewhere.
García described a challenge coin as a commemorative coin that often represents police departments and “something memorable.” He said they are generally a source of pride and that there is a process “on how to create an appropriate challenge coin”, which he said police will investigate as part of the investigation. Other agencies and groups also produce challenge coins.
He said the officer was immediately ordered to stop, so he doesn’t believe any parts were made. He said the officer involved would be dealt with responsibly and expeditiously. He did not specify.
“We are hiring from among the human race,” the chef said. “I don’t think there’s a chief of police in America who’s going to sit here and tell you there aren’t officers who can have that mentality. That’s what a ministry does, what a community does, in response to that…that’s the standard we’re held to.
Dallas police officers have faced criticism in the past related to racial insensitivity. In 2019, four officers have been furloughed and more than 20 others are under investigation after researchers from the Plain View Project published a database of years of public officer positions in eight departments, including Dallas.
Of 5,000 positions, more than 300 were from Dallas officers who were on active duty at the time. The posts included Islamophobic comments, racial stereotyping and jokes about police brutality. At least 13 Dallas officers were later disciplined under then-leader U. Reneé Hall.
More recently, police announced their priority south of Dallas after a series of shootings there earlier this year, including a mass shooting At a concert and another at a party. García said at the time that officers had been in the area not only to root out the crime, but also to instill positivity.
García said Wednesday that the officer’s actions with the coin “affect us all.”
“We are sometimes our own worst enemy,” García said. “I have been out into the community, I have seen our honorable men and women give their life and their passion to our residents, whatever beautifully diverse city we have here.”
“He should be gone”
Council members Tennell Atkins and Carolyn King Arnold, whose districts include parts of South Dallas, spoke at Wednesday’s press conference with the chief, Hopkins and other police and fire chiefs to denounce the play.
Atkins said the officer should be fired. He said the play betrayed the locals and now he had to figure out what to say to people when they asked if they could trust the South Central Patrol Division or someone in uniform. Hopkins, the president of the Black Police Association, said he also believed the officer should not be part of the force.
“He should be gone,” Atkins said of the officer. “We should not tolerate this.”
Arnold said she was also troubled that this was happening after years of neighborhood policing and attempts to strengthen the bond between police and the community. She said the link was broken with this piece.
“Obviously we still have a culture that we have to tackle,” she said. “Right now in the City of Dallas we are focused on racial equity, to remove some of the systemic practices that have been with us for years. And so today is a day for us to reevaluate where we go from here.