DALLAS – Citizen journalist and activist Avi Adelman has snapped photos for decades, often of Dallas police and medical calls.
Back in February, he was doing just that — documenting a medical emergency at the West End Station when a DART officer arrested him for trespassing.
Adelman spent 20 hours in jail.
“It’s just the idea somebody documenting something that she didn’t proper to be documented in her opinion – which is obviously wrong,” Adelman said.
DART agreed and quickly dropped the charge. But that was hardly the end of the story.
That’s because when DART officer Stephane Branch gave her account of what happened in the report, she included supposed verbatim quotes between herself and Adelman, starting with “Sir, please stay back so the firefighters can help this man.”
“That sent up a lot of red flags because I looked at that and said, ‘This isn’t what happened,’” Adelman said.
A microphone Officer Branch was wearing captured what actually happened.
“Sir, leave – you’ve got to leave,” she could be heard saying on the recording. “I’m talking to my supervisor.”
The officer’s report also included quotes from Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel and a DART passenger, but the internal affairs investigation found those quotes were entirely made up.
Branch “engaged in conduct that was illegal or could reflect poorly on DART if brought to the attention of the public,” investigators said.
“A sworn law enforcement officer lied – thought she could get away with it – stood by her lies – and then they busted her,” Adelman said.
“We have completed our internal investigation into the matter but have not determined the corrective or disciplinary action to be taken,” DART told News 8 Thursday night.
Branch is still a member of the DART Police Department. Adelman hopes that changes soon.