Photo Courtesy: Robert Moore
In a report by CBS DFW, it was discovered that the officers assigned to the rally in downtown Dallas last July – where five officers were killed and nine wounded – were told not to wear certain heavy protective gear because it would make them look too “militaristic.”
“They were told not to wear their heavy gear,” which, if worn, may have “stopped some of those rounds,” Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, told the I-Team.
Mata said that, while all of the officers were believed to have been wearing standard-issued protective vests, many had with them better protective gear – stronger, thicker body armor and helmets – but had to keep them in their patrol vehicles.
For the same reasons the officers were not allowed to carry long rifles – a weapon much like the one Micah Johnson had when he ambushed them, marking one of deadliest attacks on law enforcement in history.
Authorities say Johnson was targeting only white officers. He was later killed when police detonated an explosive device on a robot sent to where he was holed up.
Mata said that the protective gear and rifles left in patrol vehicles that night may have saved lives and prevented severe injuries.
The officers’ inability to wear the additional gear has angered officers and their families, Mata said.
He said the widow of slain Officer Lorne Ahrens later gave her husband’s heavy vest – unused that night – to his partner.
He added that officers believe the decision to leave some protective gear behind came from then-Police Chief David Brown.