Dallas Officer Accused of Capital Murder Wants His Job Back (2024)

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Bryan Riser spent over a month in jail and was fired from the Dallas Police Department because of a murder-for-hire plot in which he denies involvement.

Dallas Officer Accused of Capital Murder Wants His Job Back (1)

Former officer Bryan Riser also has a pending lawsuit against a DPD detective.Michael Förtsch on Unsplash

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Bryan Riser was just 36 when he was thrown in jail with bail set at $5 million. That was in 2021, when the Dallas Police Department, the same department he had worked for since 2008, accused him of two counts of capital murder.

More specifically, the police department alleged he ordered hits on two people: 30-year-old Liza Saenz and 60-year-old Albert Douglas. But there was a big problem for the DPD. The department didn’t have enough evidence to prove Riser ordered the hits. You could even say that the investigation into Riser bordered on being botched, yet he was still arrested and lost his job over it. Riser has maintained his innocence throughout.

Now, he’s trying to get his job back. This morning, Riser will appear before the city’s civil service trial board with his attorney, Robert Rogers, to make his case for why he should be back on the job in Dallas.

Asked how he feels about Riser’s chances, Rogers said, “We feel confident because the basis for the termination was based on a false affidavit and he’s innocent.” He said the city could have reinstated Riser by now but it refuses to do so. The attorney said he and Riser are taking the case one step at a time. “He’s nervous and hopeful,” Rogers said of Riser.

“He’s nervous and hopeful." – Robert Rogers, attorney tweet this

The former DPD officer was released from jail about a month after his arrest in April 2021 because a judge said there wasn’t enough evidence to keep him behind bars. Riser already appealed his firing to the city once and was denied his job. This hearing before the civil service trial board is his last chance to get back onto the force.

This is the same civil service trial board process that saw Dallas Fire-Rescue rehire a paramedic who repeatedly kicked a mentally ill man after responding to a grass fire in 2019. Andre Taylor, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, said the association isn't involved in Riser’s potential rehiring. Taylor also said he didn’t want to comment on Riser because he didn’t want to positively or negatively impact his case.

Detective Esteban Montenegro investigated and brought the case against Riser. However, Montenegro testified during a hearing in 2021 that he wrote untrue information in the arrest warrant affidavit that served as the basis for arresting Riser. According to The Dallas Morning News, Montenegro’s arrest warrant affidavit said there was cellphone data that placed Riser in or around the area of the killings. However, he testified in 2021 that this was a mistake and that cellphone data hadn’t placed Riser near the murders.

Riser and his father, Byron “Blue” Riser, were subjects of the investigation into Saenz’s murder back in 2017. Saenz had been living with the elder Riser at the time of her death. Two years later, one of the suspects in the Saenz case – Emmanuel Kilpatrick – told Montenegro that Bryan Riser ordered the killings of Saenz as well as Douglas, paying $3,500 for the job.

At the time, Kilpatrick was facing death or life in prison without the possibility of parole for a string of murders he committed in 2017, including Saenz's. According to the News, he was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 30 years for his testimony against Riser.

Montenegro was put on leave and investigated for his handling of the Riser case. He was also charged with two felonies for tampering with records and one count of perjury but the charges didn't stick. He is back on the force full time, but an investigation into his handling of the Riser case is ongoing, Brian Martinez, a DPD spokesperson, said by email.

Riser sued Montenegro in federal court over his investigation. That suit is ongoing and the city is spending up to $180,000 to represent Montenegro in court. Riser accused Montenegro in the suit of violating his civil rights and falsely jailing and arresting him. Through his suit, Riser hopes to be compensated for lost wages, mental pain and anguish, and the legal fees associated with clearing his name.

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Dallas Officer Accused of Capital Murder Wants His Job Back (2024)
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