Dallas Zoo records reveal criticism of police over gorilla

DALLAS: Open records requests stirred renewed media interest in last month's gorilla escape, revealing zoo employees' criticism of the response by the Dallas Police Department.

DALLAS: Open records requests stirred renewed media interest in last month's gorilla escape, revealing zoo employees' criticism of the response by the Dallas Police Department.

Zoo policy allows staff to write statements about their experiences after a crisis plan is activated, explained marketing director Pam Deutsch.

"What employees saw or felt or observed, they were completely free to write those thoughts down," Deutsch said. "They are aware that when those statements are turned in, they may be reported by the media."

The Dallas city attorney released such papers last week, and the press reported that several zoo officials claimed police department personnel didn't follow well-rehearsed emergency procedures. One zoo employee termed the situation "may- hem" and claimed police urged him to shoot the gorilla, which police officers ultimately killed.

Officially, zoo director Rich Buickerood continued to support the officers' actions. "He's convinced the SWAT team members were in danger for their lives," Deutsch said.

Deutsch's team released pool video shot inside the gorilla habitat the day after the open records release. Several TV stations had requested the footage.

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