WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment earlier this week, which was unsealed yesterday, charging former Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer Lance Kendall Bonner with federal civil rights violations. Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Richard B. Roper, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and Robert E. Casey Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Office, announced the indictment.
The indictment alleges that on Oct. 10, 2004, Bonner–who was on duty, wearing a DART uniform, driving a DART patrol vehicle, and armed with a handgun–violated a woman’s civil rights by kidnaping and sexually assaulting her.
“Officers of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority are employed to serve and protect DART passengers and others who live in and visit Dallas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Comisac. “Under no circumstances can we allow a police officer to abuse his power to commit violent acts. The Justice Department is committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting any police officer who engages in such conduct.”
“The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers serve with honor and distinction – many times under very trying circumstances. Nevertheless, the guarantee of core civil rights is at the heart of American liberty and prosperity,” added U.S. Attorney Roper. “This office works closely with the DOJ Civil Rights Division and the FBI to investigate police misconduct that undermines public trust and violates these civil rights. Those who abuse their authority by breaking the laws they are meant to enforce will be prosecuted.”
“Law enforcement officers have been given tremendous power by the government but they must enforce the law and ensure justice when they perform their duties. Preventing abuse of this authority, however, is equally necessary,” said Special Agent in Charge Casey. “The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating ‘color of law’ abuses and this indictment reflects the FBI’s continued commitment in the investigation of civil rights violations.”
An indictment is only an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The case was investigated by investigators with DART and the Dallas Police Department and special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tammy Reno and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti.