Last week, former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he had “no knowledge” of any incident at a Lancaster, Texas Wal-Mart on July 11, 2011 involving Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. As it turns out, someone in his office does and/or did.
In response to a Texas Public Information Act request sent by PFT to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, Assistant D.A. Laura Anne Coats forwarded on Tuesday a copy of the same incident report that the Lancaster Police Department previously sent to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
There’s one key difference in the version obtained by NFL Media and the version sent to PFT. The version obtained by NFL Media, transmitted with a cover letter dated February 17, 2015, indicates that it was printed by the Lancaster Police Department that same day. The version submitted to PFT by the Dallas County District Attorney reveals that it was printed on August 7, 2012 by the Lancaster Police Department, more than a year after the incident but still more than two years ago — while Watkins was still the District Attorney.
“Because there was no arrest and no complainant, the incident never comes to the District Attorney’s office,” Watkins told Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan last week.
But the incident did indeed come to the Dallas County District Attorney, on or about August 7, 2012. If it hadn’t, the District Attorney’s office never would have had a copy of the incident report from the Lancaster Police Department printed on that date. The question becomes whether the District Attorney has anything else relating to the incident; a second request under the Texas Public Information Act for additional, specific information regarding the incident and any investigation has been prepared and sent to the Dallas County District Attorney.
For now, it’s clear the incident that appeared to be a faint, open-and-shut blip on the Lancaster, Texas radar screen somehow made its way to the ultimate law enforcement authority in all of Dallas County, which at last count had a population of 2.48 million.
While no video of the incident has emerged, it remains difficult to believe no video existed, especially since Wal-Mart routinely secures its many retail properties with surveillance cameras. It also remains difficult to understand the decision of the responding officer not to immediately enter the Wal-Mart security office after someone reported that a woman was pulled and dragged from a car registered to Bryant but the alleged victim then claimed that she wasn’t “injured or assaulted in any way.”