Society

Activists Call For Additional Hate Crime Investigation In Shooting Of Lake Highlands Boy

| by Khier Casino

Civil rights activists called for an investigation to Dallas Police Chief David Brown for a hate crime, which involved a 8-year-old black boy who was shot last month in Lake Highlands. However, their proposal was dismissed.

Brian Cloninger, 46, is being accused of shooting Donald Maiden, Jr. in the face right outside La Bella Palms Apartments on Royal Lane on Sept. 3. Roy Williams and other civil rights activists believed that Cloninger made an attempt to kidnap Maiden. They also said he had racial motives, but did not offer any more details.

Williams stated his case during the public comment portion at a City Council meeting. But the information gathered by investigators “doesn’t match what Mr. Williams has heard.”

“We don’t have any evidence that points to any semblance of a hate crime,” Brown said.

Cloninger’s attorney, Stephanie Hudson, also says that race was not a contributing factor in the case. No eyewitnesses of the shooting have stepped forward yet.

“We have a couple of different accounts of what occurred. We are still looking for witnesses — anyone to come forward,” Deputy Police Chief Sherryl Scott, head of the Crimes Against Persons Division, said. “It really is a tragic situation, and we’re trying to make sure we do everything we can to determine what actually happened.”

Maiden was quickly interviewed once by investigators. His jaw was wired shut after the shooting. He is still recovering, but is now able to speak with the assistance of a voice box.

Cloninger remains in jail for the time being with a bail set at $2.2 million. He faces charges of injury to a child and a first-degree felony, and can serve up to life in prison.

Members of the City Council acknowledge police for their investigation and sent their sympathies to Maiden and his family.

“It is a tragic event, and that scar tissue will last a lifetime,” said Jerry Allen, a representative of the Lake Highlands area. “This young man won’t be left on the side.”