Police Chief Charged With Perjury in Shooting Probe
Seven perjury charges were filed Wednesday against suspended Police Chief Mack Vines as a result of an investigation into his testimony to a special panel that looked into the shooting of a civilian by an officer.
“It’s sufficient to note that we found in that investigation . . . seven separate counts of aggravated perjury,” Dist. Atty. John Vance said. “I think the chief made two appearances (before the panel), but we can’t go into what is alleged in each of those because that is still pending before the grand jury.”
Vance said the charges would be presented to the grand jury on Sept. 10. A third-degree felony carries a maximum 10-year prison term and fines of up to $10,000.
City Manager Jan Hart said that Vines, 51, would remain on indefinite suspension and he named a new acting chief.
Vines, who has refused to resign, released a statement Wednesday that read: “I welcome the opportunity to have this matter heard by the grand jury. I have said all along that, for the good of all concerned, I want this issue resolved. While I am sorry the matter has gone this far, I am also aware that it has long been the tradition and custom in this community for the district attorney to refer matters of this nature to the grand jury.”
Some City Council members said the charges alone are enough to cost Vines the job he has held since July, 1988.
“I think it would be nearly impossible for Chief Vines to lead this police department with the confidence of the city into the future. Humpty Dumpty is broken, and I don’t think there’s any reasonable way of putting that all together again,” Councilman Jerry Bartos said.
Dallas Police Assn. President Monica Smith, who has been critical of Vines in the past, said she believed Vines “is entitled to and will receive a fair review of the facts presented to the grand jury by the district attorney’s office.”
The developments stem from the fatal shooting last year of an unarmed Mexican man by Officer Patrick LeMaire. Vines fired LeMaire 17 days after the killing.
LeMaire was reinstated last month by an administrative law judge who said Vines failed to justify the firing. During the administrative hearing, an internal affairs detective testified that his initial report on the shooting was altered.