DALLAS – The Dallas Police Department allowed an officer to continue patrolling for more than a year while investigating whether he ordered two people to be killed because it didn't want to tip him off, the city's former police chief said.
U. Renee Hall, who left the department at the end of 2020, said in a statement posted on Twitter late Thursday that police investigators, in collaboration with the FBI, recommended not placing Officer Bryan Riser on administrative leave after he was identified as a person of interest in 2019.
“Taking that action could have compromised the investigation. If Riser had known he was a person-of-interest, DPD might not have been able to bring justice to the families,” Hall said.
Hall's explanation came hours after Riser, 36, was arrested on two counts of capital murder. Riser was being held Friday on $5 million bond after a court appearance Thursday night.
Court records don’t list an attorney for Riser, who told the court he would hire one.
Hall said that when Riser was first identified as a person of interest, police working alongside the Dallas County district attorney's office determined there wasn't yet enough evidence to charge him.
“It took persistence and months of dedication to accomplish, and the people of Dallas are safe because of it,” Hall said.
Dallas' new police chief, Eddie Garcia, said that someone came forward in 2019 and told police he kidnapped and killed two people, 31-year-old Liza Saenz and 61-year-old Albert Douglas, on Riser's instructions in separate 2017 attacks. Garcia said neither killing was connected to Riser's police work, but that investigators were still trying to determine the motives.