The personnel file of CPD Superintendent David Brown reveals a past suspension for pursuing a vehicle into oncoming traffic and submitting multiple reports containing false information while he was working for the Dallas Police Department. Relevant parts of the personnel file are attached at the end of the article.
On Aug 29, 1987, Officers Richard L. Pace and David Brown were working an off-duty job at a restaurant. They observed a stolen vehicle and attempted to stop the driver. When the driver failed to stop, a chase ensued. Brown and Pace followed the suspect onto the wrong side of the LBJ freeway, ultimately ending when the suspect’s vehicle collided with an oncoming vehicle. A second collision then occurred of the police vehicle into the suspect’s vehicle. Brown and Pace then began to chase the suspect on foot and arrested him.
When Traffic Division investigators began to review the traffic accident, Brown told them that he had not pursued the suspect’s vehicle into oncoming traffic on the freeway. Instead, Brown stated that he had backed up the entrance ramp. He also reported that the police vehicle had not collided with the suspect’s vehicle. His story was that the suspect’s vehicle had rolled into the police vehicle during the foot chase. An investigation by the Traffic Division revealed these reports to be untruthful, containing false and misleading information.
Instead of accepting responsibility for his misconduct, Brown doubled down on his falsehoods. He voluntarily submitted a polygraph on October 12, 1987, which also indicated that he was being deceptive in his account of the incident. Additionally, when Brown was issued his 15-day suspension he attempted to appeal it despite mounting evidence that he had violated department rules and lied during an internal investigation.
Finally, Brown was suspended without pay from the Dallas Police Department for 15 days on Feb 29, 1988.
Brown has said that he aims to increase transparency and build trust in communities throughout his career. In his book, Called to Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me, he says, “Dishonorable behavior was immediately addressed. In my department, those who followed the rules held onto their jobs. The handful who didn’t had to go.” (15, 8:38). Yet, when Brown broke the rules he lied to cover it up, dodging procedures for accountability. Furthermore, Brown recently supported the firing of Officer Jamie Jawor over her similar misconduct in a high speed car chase resulting in a crash. In this instance, it is clear that Brown has not held to the same standard to which he holds his officers.
Surprisingly, Brown’s suspension has garnered very little attention from the Chicago media and Chicago City Council. This could be due to the rushed process of his appointment as superintendent of police. The Police Board Chairman Ghian Foreman said the board conducted in-depth interviews with the superintendent candidates and reviewed their backgrounds. However, it is unclear whether they missed Brown’s suspension in their review or failed to consider it. Whether the lack of information regarding Brown’s suspension was due to incompetence or intention the public lost out on key information during the superintendent selection process.
Kali Foyle is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Political Science and Communication Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She worked with the Chicago Justice Project last summer to conduct research on Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown.