Dallas Mayor Fails To Block Release of Police reports
By BJ Austin
Dallas, TX –
Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway says he'll let people decide if a police visit to his home in January after a fight with his wife is a big deal. KERA's BJ Austin says Caraway lost his court battle to keep police report and a recording private.
The State Attorney General ordered the city to release the police documents and a recording of Mayor Dwaine Caraway's conversation with officers who came to his home. Caraway sued to prevent that. But now Mayor Caraway says he will not appeal the Judge's decision which clears the way for release of that material.
Caraway: When you hear what's on there, you tell me if it's as important and significant as the media has allowed it to be. It's really nothin' there.
Officers on the Special Investigative Unit were dispatched to Caraway's home by Police Chief David Brown after he got a call from the then-Mayor-Pro-Tem. Officers concluded there was an altercation between Caraway and his wife, State Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway, but it was resolved and there was no crime.
Caraway's lawyer argued that releasing the recording would be a violation of privacy because of intimate or possibly embarrassing details of the marriage - thereby qualifying for an exemption from the Public Information Act.
Caraway says he was unaware he was being recorded and spoke to officers with the expectation of privacy - even if he is an elected official.
Caraway: I also have the right as an American to have my privacy respected. And my privacy has been disrespected in my personal opinion. Now what I'm going to do about it, is I'm going to let this rest. I don't want to have cameras back in my face after this. This case is over. You have the tape. You have the information.
Paul Watler, attorney for the Dallas Morning News says Caraway waived any expectation of privacy when he talked about the fight he was having with his wife with several relatives on the telephone. Then he told reporters two friends, Archie and Arthur, got into a row at a Cowboys watch party. Caraway then he admitted at a City Council meeting it was indeed a marital spat. Watler says that raised questions about the truthfulness of a public official, and the Judge's ruling is a victory for the public's right to know.
Watler: I think evidence showed there was legitimate concern in this situation, with this particular incident, and how it relates to issues that are before the electorate right now in the council election.
The recording and police documents are expected to be released at City Hall Wednesday morning.