Tyler, TX – A Texas state trooper was murdered on Thanksgiving Day by a repeat offender who had been given ridiculously low bail by a judge in July, after previously beating a deputy and trying to take his gun (video of attack below.)
In 2015, Dabrett Black attacked Smith County Deputy Rigele Dean on the side of a rural road in Smith County when the deputy tried to detain him.
The incident was captured on Deputy Dean’s dashcam.
But court records showed that Jacob Putnam, a Smith County prosecutor, cut a plea deal dropping Black’s assault on a peace officer charge to a misdemeanor, WFAA reported. He also agreed to drop a felony charge that Black tried to take away the deputy’s gun.
In March 2016, one year after Black attacked the deputy, Putnam cut the deal that allowed Black to avoid prison time. Putnam’s superiors are now claiming they didn’t authorize the deal.
Putnam is now running for Smith County DA.
Black, 32, later assaulted another Smith County deputy in July 2017 after ramming the deputy’s car during a chase.
Judge Mitch Shamburger set Black’s bonds at $15,500 total in that case, and Black was able to get out of jail pending his next appearance.
However, Black was indicted on aggravated assault on a public servant and evading arrest charges on Oct. 5, and his bonds were increased to $400,000 while he was not in custody, according to KHOU.
An arrest warrant was issued on Nov. 7, but Black had not been captured by Nov. 23 when he murdered Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Damon Allen.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said in social media posts late Thursday that Allen initiated a traffic stop shortly before 4 p.m. on Interstate 45 near Fairfield, about 90 miles south of Dallas.
DPS said Black shot Trooper Allen with a rifle as the trooper walked back to his vehicle, Time reported.
Trooper Allen, a 15-year police veteran, died at the scene.
Black fled on foot but was captured by police K9s in a nearby field, hiding amongst hay bales, police said.
The judge who released Black, on what many consider to be extremely low bail for a second charge of assault on a police officer, didn’t even remember the case when KHOU contacted him.
Initially, Shamburger defended his ruling despite court and jail records that showed Black has a history of evading arrest and violent run-ins with law enforcement officers.
“A $10,000 bond for him might be equivalent to a $100,000 bond to a rich person,” Shamburger told KHOU. “We have to be careful that we don’t just convict people just because they’re put in jail. We set a bond to ensure they show up in court.”
However, the judge admitted his mistake in a follow-up call to the news station.
“I set the bond that would ensure his appearance … I didn’t know he could get out on that … I wasn’t aware of previous convictions,” Shamburger said.
On the dashcam video of his altercation with Deputy Dean in 2015, after his arrest, Black was sitting in the squad car talking to himself.
“Three times to cross the water, I’m not the dude for you to f*** with,” he said. “If he would have grabbed the gun, I would have had to kill him. Do you understand? And that wasn’t going to happen because I’m not going to die today.”
“Somebody supposed to be scared because you got a badge and a gun,” Black said. “I showed you what your badge and gun ain’t s***. I whipped his a** without a badge or a gun.”
At one point on the video, Black looked straight into the camera and said, “Just imagine if I had some weapons. Do you understand that?”
Court records obtained by WFAA showed that Black’s probation officers had put him on a “watch list” in 2015 after he demonstrated “erratic” behavior prior to his sentencing in the first case.
In a June 2015 email, a probation officer wrote that Black made the comment that “if anyone tried to arrest him, he would have to kick another lawman’s a**.”
A second probation official wrote an email warning his fellow officers to be “on the lookout for Black both inside and outside the office,” WFAA reported.
“In my opinion, this is also the kind of guy who will lurk in the shadows and try to ambush someone,” the official wrote. “I am not trying to scare anyone and no, I’m not being paranoid. I just think this guy has some kind of agenda, and I’m not exactly sure what it is.”
Black has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.
You can video of his violent attack on Deputy Dean in 2015 below. WARNING: Graphic content.