The Consequences of the Tape: Pursuing Justice for Joseph Hutcheson

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For the last month, I have fought for the Sheriff of Dallas County to release the video of the death of Joseph Hutcheson in the lobby of the Dallas County Jail. I have watched it over and over again. Without question, this is an instance of police brutality. The deputies took Hutcheson to the ground, placed their knees on his back and throat and killed him. If Hutcheson had been given proper medical attention when he entered the jail, we would not be having this conversation.


I gave the following quote to the Dallas Morning News:


“We see someone come in seeking medical help and they are treated like a piece of trash. They should have gotten a medical team down there to help this man, but instead they act like this is the World Wrestling Federation. And it begs the question, do these deputies know how to respond to these incidents in any other way than violence?”


Starring at the screen, I repeatedly pondered, “Why didn’t they just help him?” I think the answer is that they don’t know how. The deputies only knew how to treat Hutcheson like a criminal. I bet the situation would have been different if it was someone they loved. Without question, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department needs extensive training in dealing with these medical situations. Right now, the people of Dallas County are not safe to get sick around these deputies.


Thanks to the presence of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price at the press conference, we were reminded that the release of the tape was a political event. I found this development particularly disturbing. The Sheriff of Dallas County is elected to serve and protect the citizens of Dallas County. Unfortunately, the Sheriff only seemed interested in serving and protecting herself.


This investigation was flawed from the beginning. Remember the narcotics in Hutcheson’s truck that were never really there? Bound by her own political realities, I believe the Sheriff is unable to fully and properly investigate this matter. I call on the Sheriff to step aside and bring in an outside agency to investigate this case.


For our own safety, the public also has the right to know the names of the deputies involved in the death of Hutcheson. While I am willing to wait for the investigation to be complete for administrative action on the other deputies, the deputy who clearly put his knee on the neck of Hutcheson should be fired immediately.


While I think the tape was released to calm things down, I’m more frustrated now than I was before.


These are the consequences of the tape.



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