By Kelli Smith
A former Dallas police officer jailed on capital murder charges in 2021 was denied a chance to get his job back after an appeal before the city manager.
City Manager T.C. Broadnax on Monday upheld Dallas police Chief Eddie García’s decision to fire Bryan Riser, a former patrol officer whose department accused him of ordering the 2017 killings of Liza Saenz and Albert Douglas.
Riser was released from jail in April 2021, a month after his arrest, after a judge decided there wasn’t enough evidence to keep him locked up.
The appeal hearing, which took place March 30, was closed to the public. It was not clear how Broadnax came to his decision this week. The city did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
Riser’s attorney, Robert Rogers, said the city confirmed the termination was upheld. Riser, 39, can appeal Broadnax’s decision.
“In light of the shocking lack of any evidence to justify the decision to terminate Bryan’s employment, we are obviously disappointed,” Rogers said. “Bryan fully intends to exercise his right to appeal to the next level.”
The final stage of the appeals process would occur before a civil service trial board or an administrative law judge.
Dallas police fired and arrested Riser in March 2021 after an investigation by veteran homicide detective Esteban Montenegro, who testified a month later that he wrote untrue information in the affidavit that served as the basis for arresting Riser. He characterized his incorrect statements as mistakes.
Dallas police later placed Montenegro on leave amid a criminal investigation into his handling of Riser’s case. In February, a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict him on two felony cases of tampering with records and one case of perjury.
Montenegro is no longer on administrative leave, but the internal investigation is ongoing, according to Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman.
Riser has maintained his innocence. In May, he filed a lawsuit in federal court against Montenegro that alleged Montenegro violated his civil rights and falsely arrested and jailed him. That case is pending.
This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas- at the bottom.