Dallas, TX – Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall drew the ire of citizens and law enforcement groups on Monday when she implied that society is to blame for forcing criminals who commit violent acts (video below).
“There are socioeconomic issues that are related to crime in individuals in this city,” Chief Hall said during a press conference discussing two recent homicides. “There are individuals in this city who have returned from prison who cannot find a job, who are not educated.”
“In those instances, those individuals are forced to commit violent acts,” the chief declared.
Many were outraged by Chief Hall’s comment, including Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.
“The Chief saying that people [are] ‘forced to commit violent acts’ it places the blame on society and makes the offenders the victim,” Mata told KTVT. “I don’t believe anyone is forced to violently attack another person.”
By using the word “forced” as opposed to “choose,” Chief Hall placed blame on society, rather than offenders, he said.
“I believe in sentencing guidelines reform and educating violators prior to releasing back into society so they can have the best possible chance of not re-offending,” Mata continued, “but we also have to be accountable for our own actions and never in any way validate an excuse to commit a violent act.”
Chief Hall clarified her comment later on Monday night.
“There is no excuse for crime,” she said, according to KTVT. “Crime in general however, is on the rise in Dallas for many reasons. One of them being a lack of resources and opportunity.”
Chief Hall said she is “in no way” using socioeconomic factors “as an excuse to commit a crime.”
“However, we have to work together as a community to remain vigilant and pro-active,” she added.
Chief Hall said she has reached out to the city’s pastoral community and asked them to help develop ways for citizens to access resources and to resolve disputes nonviolently.
You can watch a clip from Chief Hall’s press conference in the video below: