FBI denies asking Dallas to keep suspect officer on job
DALLAS (AP) — The FBI did not ask Dallas police to keep an officer now charged with two counts of murder on duty investigated for two slayings on the job, according to Special Agent Michael DeSarno.
“We did not at any time and would not make recommendations about pulling him off or leaving him on duty,” DeSarno, in charge of the Dallas FBI office, said Friday. “We at no time asked them to leave him on duty.”
Police have said that Officer Bryan Riser, who was arrested Thursday on suspicion of ordering two people be killed, remained an active patrol officer for more than a year after being implicated in the killings.
Former Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, who left the department at the end of 2020, said Thursday on Twitter that police, “collaborating with the FBI, recommended not placing Riser on leave.” Hall wrote that taking the action would alert Riser that he was a person-of-interest and compromise the investigation.
Following DeSarno’s statements, Hall wrote on Twitter that she was being careful and concise with her words to protect the investigation, and that the recommendation to not place Riser on leave came from Dallas police.
“I said detectives were working in collaboration with the FBI, but I should have stated that the recommendation came from the lead organization, DPD, not the FBI,” Hall wrote.
Current Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who became chief last month, said that someone told police in 2019 and said he kidnapped and killed 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.
Garcia has offered no explanation why Riser was arrested nearly 20 months after the witness came forward, and police declined to answer subsequent questions about the timing.
Both victims were shot and their bodies were dumped in the Trinity River, according to investigators. Saenz’s body was recovered, but Douglas’ wasn’t.
Riser is now on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. Garcia said his department would expedite the process of firing him.
Riser remained jailed Saturday 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.