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Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall resigns following criticisms of protest response

Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall at The Texas Tribune Festival in 2017. Hall is stepping down from her post as the city’s top cop in November.                    (Credit: Qiling Wang for The Texas Tribune)
Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall at The Texas Tribune Festival in 2017. Hall is stepping down from her post as the city’s top cop in November. (Credit: Qiling Wang for The Texas Tribune)

Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall will leave her position on Nov. 10, according to a statement from Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax. Hall was heavily criticized by six City Council members after anti-police brutality protests in Dallas in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Hall’s resignation letter didn’t reference such criticisms.

Instead, her resignation says she has received “a number of inquiries about future career opportunities.” Hall said that, for now, she would keep her next step “confidential.”

“These past three years have been saturated with a series of unimaginable events that individually and collectively have never happened in the City of Dallas,” Hall wrote. “I am proud that this department has not only coped with an unthinkable series of events, but we also managed to implement critical reforms.”

The Dallas Police Department was criticized for its use of force during protests at the end of May and start of June. An investigation from The Dallas Morning News reported that police officers used pepper-ball launchers against peaceful protestors. A federal judge later temporarily banned the City of Dallas from using tear-gas and other non-lethal weapons against peaceful crowds.

By mid August, Hall presented a report of her department’s handling of the protests that found planning and communication problems among police officers. The report also proposed changes in who can authorize use of tear gas, training for mass arrests and ensuring the use of body cameras.

“Whatever we do as a police department, we’ll acknowledge it, we’ll fix it, and move forward,” Hall said in a phone interview with The News. “The fact we have changed some general orders in line with our less-than-lethal force acknowledges we could have done something differently.”

But in a special meeting of the Dallas Public Safety Committee in August, six council members criticized the transparency of the report and Hall’s leadership.

“I’m very concerned with how this all happened, and what I’m seeing is a lack of leadership,” said council member Cara Mendelsohn, according to The News. “This has been an embarrassment to our city.”

Hall had been appointed Police Chief three years ago, becoming the first woman to lead the Dallas Police Department. Prior to working in Dallas, she was the deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department.