A Cop Accused of Arranging 2 Murders Was Allowed to Stay on the Job

Dallas Police Officer Bryan Riser was arrested Thursday—nearly two years after he was accused of orchestrating the killings of two people.
Bryan Riser was arrested and booked in a Dallas County jail on two counts of capital murder Thursday.
Bryan Riser was arrested and booked in a Dallas County jail on two counts of capital murder Thursday. (Photo provided by Dallas County Sheriff's Department)

Update 3/10 9:14 a.m. ET: Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia terminated Officer Bryan Riser during a disciplinary hearing Tuesday, the Dallas Police Department said in a statement. He has the right to appeal under civil service rules.

A Dallas police officer was arrested on capital murder charges Thursday—more than a year and a half after someone alleged the cop had orchestrated the killings of two people. 


The city’s police chief, Eddie García, emphasized in a press conference that the department was working on terminating Bryan Riser over the shocking allegations that he’d ordered the deaths of a 31-year-old woman and a 61-year-old man in 2017, according to the Dallas Morning News.

But he also confirmed that Riser, 36, had nonetheless been patrolling the streets as a cop while he was a “person of interest” in the slayings.

“We’re conducting an administrative investigation as quickly as possible and moving forward toward termination,” García said. “I can’t make it more clearer than that. This individual has no business wearing this uniform.”

Riser, who’s been with the Dallas PD since 2008, was booked in a county jail Thursday on two counts of capital murder, according to the Dallas Morning News. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney. The motive behind the alleged killings is also unknown, but the two separate incidents were unrelated to 36-year-old Riser’s police work.

It’s possible that suspending Riser from the police force any earlier could’ve impacted the murder investigation, according to the Dallas Morning News. The FBI and the police department are still probing the case.

The investigation dates back to the slaying of Liza Saenz, a 31-year-old who was found dead in the Trinity River in March 2017. She had been shot multiple times, according to a probable cause affidavit the Dallas Police Department released Thursday. 


Three men, Kevin Kidd, Emmanuel Kilpatrick, and Jermon Simmons, were arrested in connection to her death and charged with capital murder that September. While Kilpatrick was sentenced to life in prison for killing a father and son, the cases relating to Saenz's death remain pending, the Dallas Morning News reported. Kidd and Simmons are still in the Dallas County Jail, according to the Associated Press.

By August 2019, though, one of the three men came forward to tell authorities that Riser had offered him $6,000 to kill Saenz, whom he’d apparently described as an informant, according to the Dallas Morning News. (Police have not identified the man that came forward, as naming him could put him in danger.) 

The man also said Riser was connected to the death of Albert Douglas, a 61-year-old who was reported missing in February, weeks before Saenz’s body turned up. Riser had allegedly offered $3,500 for that killing, which also involved Douglas being dumped in the Trinity River, according to the Dallas Morning News. His body was never found.

The man had allegedly been involved with burglaries with Riser when they were younger. In later years, he planned to provide information that would help the man and his associates rob drug houses, but that never happened, according to the Associated Press. 


Former Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall was briefed on the allegations about Riser when they came to light. However, the officer was only a “person of interest” at the time, and placing him on leave might’ve hurt the murder investigation, Hall said. The decision to keep him on the job involved the guidance of federal law enforcement and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Hall did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment, but a statement posted to her Twitter account late Thursday noted that there wasn’t enough evidence to file charges in 2019. 

“If Riser had known he was a person-of-interest, DPD might not have been able to bring justice to the families today, and that’s the most important thing,” she said in the statement. 

The Dallas Police Department also did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment on why Riser was able to remain on patrol during the investigation. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that it carries out “its own independent investigation when criminal cases are filed. The office will thoroughly review the case file on Bryan Riser after the Dallas Police Department provides it.”

“It is the policy of this office not to comment on cases that are under investigation prior to a grand jury hearing,” the statement continued.