Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012 Page: 10 of 40
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Balch Springs PD: Investigation
into gay man's death s ongoing
Police chief says anti-gay behavior
by officers not tolerated, says such
behavior by investigator is unlikely
DAVID TAFFET I Staff Writer
taffet@dal I asvo ice. co m
BALCH SPRINGS — Balch Springs Police
Chief Ed Morris said an investigation into the
death of a gay man in his city is ongoing. An-
swering charges of homophobia in his depart-
ment lodged by the dead man's family, Morris
said that he doesn't tolerate that sort of behavior
in his officers.
The body of Rodney,Johnson was found in his
trailer in Balch Springs on Nov. 12.
Morris said that there was no sign of foul play
in Johnson's death but that his department is
awaiting test results from the Dallas County
medical examiner before proceeding with an in-
vestigation. Those results take about three
months to return.
Johnson'l-gister Duby Redburn said that the of-
ficer she spoke to snickered and said, "I don't
know what sort of lifestyle he led," when describ-
ing what he found.
"He was very insensitive/' Redburn said of the
Morris made it clear he wouldn't tolerate that
sort of behavior from his officers.
"I don't think any of my officers would make
an anti-gay comment," he said.
He said that if he thought that any officer was
guilty of that sort of behavior, that officer would
be in his office immediately and he would take
care of it. But Morris said he would especially
surprised if he heard it about the specific officer
Johnson did not show up for work at his job as
a security guard at a Bank of America branch on
Thursday, Nov. 10. His supervisor became wor-
ried when she couldn't reach him by phone, s@
she drove to his home. When he didn't answer
the door, she called police.
The supervisor and Johnson's family have said
police never responded to the call.
But Morris said department records indicate
that Johnson'® supervisor's call to police was
logged at 2:41 p.m. on Nov, 11, and that a patrol
car was dispatched to Johnson's address at 2:49
p.m. He said that was reasonable response time
for that sort of non-emergency "welfare check"
Police arrived at 3:03 p.m. at the location, Mor-
The officer responding to the call reported that
there was no odor coming from the trailer. He
asked neighbors about Johnson's car that was
parked in an odd position. Neighbors said it had
Police Chief Ed Morris
been there for several days.
Morris said they searched records to see if
there Were additional calls from the supervisor's
phone number but could not find any, although
the supervisor said she had called both 911 and
the department's direct line phone number.
A police department spokesman initially told
Dallas Voice there Was no record of either call.
Johnson's body was found the next day when
his brother/ Roger Johnson, got a call from Rod-
ney's boyfriend in Canada, Worried that he
hadn't heard from him. Roger Johnson used his
key to the trailer to enter, and found his brother
lying on the floor, face down.
Roger Johnson had said his brother's body was
lying in a pool of blood.
The call record indicates police were dis-
patched in 30 seconds and arrived in minutes.
Morris said he didn't recall seeing any blood
on the floor in the police pictures taken before
Johnson was transported by helicopter to the hos-
pital. But he said the body showed signs of livid-
ity, meaning the blood had settled to the lower
part of the body, which indicated he had been
lying on the floor for some time before he was
Other issues remain unresolved, such as an
unauthorized attempt to access Johnson's bank
account the week after his death. But since the
original article appeared in Dallas Voice on Dec.
23, Redburn has been in touch with city officials
and has been assured the case is still open.
Last year, Balch Springs had no homicides.
"The crime rate's been down for the last few
years," Morris said. "We want to keep it that
But he said that if there is an indication from
the medical examiner that Johnson's death was
caused by anything other than natural causes,
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012, newspaper, January 6, 2012; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239201/m1/10/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.