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'Heroic' Dallas Officers Being Kept Away From Awards Banquet Due To Internal Affairs Investigations

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Police Department is being accused of trying to stop heroic officers from accepting awards at a banquet next Monday, November 18.

Friends of the Dallas Police, a citizens group, annually honors dozens of officers for saving lives and meritorious service.

This year, 22 of those hero officers were told the department would be enforcing a seldom-used and vague rule that basically says any officers with open internal affairs investigations cannot attend.

Officers tell CBS 11 they are angry about that because a lot of officers are named in IA investigations which can be very minor formalities and unrelated to what they are being honored for.

One of them was Mark Swindell.

He pulled a driver from a burning car in January.

In June, he shot and killed a dog that had just severely mauled a couple in a park.

Because he discharged his weapon, there has to be an IA investigation.

"It was disappointing because my girlfriend and my daughter, they knew that I was going, then all the sudden at the last minute it became a different story," said Officer Swindell.

However, Chief Renee Hall met with the officers Friday and decided she will allow Swindell to attend.

The others will be decided on a case by case basis.

Another officer impacted is Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.

He's being recognized for holding a mattress while tenants of a burning apartment building jumped for their lives.

He is under an IA investigation for his conversation with Amber Guyger right after the Botham Jean murder.

Sgt. Mata suspects it's his recognition that the department is trying to retaliate against.

"Because I'm on that list, we're not going to give anybody that award and if that's the case to be honest I don't need the award," said Sgt. Mata. "Give the other 21 officers their award. I'll stay home."

The Dallas Police Department has not responded to CBS 11's requests for comment.

Mata pointed out even Chief Hall herself is named in a city-related internal affairs investigation for her actions during a police review board meeting and she plans to attend the ceremony on Monday and take the stage.

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