Desperate for help back on August 1, 2015, Joseph Hutcheson parked his truck on the curb of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas, Texas and ran inside. Not long after entering around 10:24am, Hutcheson screamed, “Don’t hurt me, I just need some help.” The deputies tackled him and wrestled him to the ground. As Hutcheson pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, a witness described one deputy restraining Hutcheson with “a knee on his back” and another deputy restraining him “with a knee on his throat.” Hutcheson’s face turned from white to blue. Around 11:30am, Hutcheson was pronounced dead.
Not long after Joseph Hutcheson’s death, Sheriff Lupe Valdez allowed information to be released to the media that drugs were found in his truck. This information turned out to be a lie. Not long after falsely speculating about the contents of his truck, Sheriff Valdez also released Hutcheson’s criminal background. One of the first signs that law enforcement has committed brutality is that they start to trash the victim. Sheriff Valdez is guilty as charged.
I got involved in the case not long after Joseph Hutcheson died. Having known of Sheriff Valdez for many years, I couldn’t figure out what was making her bungle this situation so badly. Regardless, a coalition of us began to push. Sheriff Valdez refused to publicly engage the case. When it took months of pushing to get video of the incident, I realized that Sheriff Valdez was the protector of the brutalizers.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled the death of Joseph Hutcheson a homicide. Though Hutcheson was on cocaine and methamphetamine, the deputies were the primary causes of his death. Regardless, Sheriff Valdez still has not released their names. Though the deputies were on alternative duty for a while, no one was ever told what that even meant. For all we know, the deputies are now back working in the lobby where they killed a man. Based on Sheriff Valdez’s actions throughout the investigation, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.
Not long ago, Sheriff Valdez finished her investigation of the Joseph Hutcheson incident. Now, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is investigating her investigation. Maybe someone over there is compassionate enough to recognize brutality when they see it. Sheriff Valdez certainly was not. Sheriff Valdez remains Dallas County’s great protector of brutality.