Grand jury gets police pepper spray case

By Tanya Eiserer
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Dallas police have placed on administrative leave two officers involved in an August incident in which a man was taken to West Dallas, doused with pepper spray and left there.

Police officials are asking that a grand jury review the actions of Officer Michael Loeb and Senior Cpl. Antonio Lopez to determine whether there was criminal misconduct.

Grand jurors will be asked to consider whether Officer Loeb should be indicted on a charge of official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor. They will also be asked whether the officers should face indictment over allegations that they tampered with a government record, also a Class A misdemeanor. Both officers wrote reports that police officials believe are not truthful.

Early on Aug. 26, a man identified as Michael Reyes, 19, had been hanging around a northwest Dallas neighborhood and asking a 77-year-old man for money, officials said. Officers responded to a "prowler call" about 2:45 a.m., police said.

Officer Loeb, 31, and Cpl. Lopez, 35, wrote in reports that they gave Mr. Reyes a ride to West Dallas and that Officer Loeb's pepper spray canister malfunctioned, accidentally spraying them and Mr. Reyes.

Mr. Reyes reported the incident to police. Investigators questioned a rookie officer whom Cpl. Lopez was training, but they have declined to say what he told them.

All three officers are assigned to the northwest patrol station. Officer Loeb was hired in 2004 and has no record of being disciplined.

Cpl. Lopez, a nine-year veteran, has received minor discipline for a variety of infractions.

Copyright 2008 The Dallas Morning News

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