DALLAS — Dallas police say miscommunication between officers led NFL player Aqib Talib to be incorrectly identified as a man arrested for public intoxication early Sunday morning.
It was a tweet heard ‘round the sports world.
Maj. Max Geron on the Dallas Police Department communications team tweeted a "breaking story" just before 8 a.m saying officers had arrested Devner Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib outside Synn nightclub in downtown Dallas.
But two major problems quickly emerged. Dallas police learned they did not arrest the Bronco player — it was his brother, Yaqub.
By the time a correction was sent out nearly three hours later, sports outlets across the country reported what they had trusted was accurate information from an official Twitter account of the Dallas Police Department.
So how did this happen?
In a written statement, police said Aqib Talib's brother told officers at the scene that he played for the NFL, and the supervisor relayed that information to communications staff.
As for the tweet, DPD said "the incorrect information was sent, not in keeping with normal protocol." When asked what "normal protocol" is, the department had no further comment.
“They’re trying to beat the media at the media game, and unfortunately they don’t know how to play it,” said attorney Christopher Livingston, who has worked with the Dallas Police Association.
From the beginning, many in the organization worried about Chief David Brown’s push for more involvement on social media. Livingston believes a flub was bound to happen.
“We have some of the best police officers in the nation right here in Dallas, but they’re not journalists, and they’re not public relations specialists," Livingston said. "And for some reason, Chief Brown thinks they should be, and they’re failing."
Dallas police issued an apology to Aqib Talib, who told media in Colorado he was at home in bed when the arrest happened.
Maj. Geron's original tweets have since been deleted.
June 19, 2014
Arrest of Mr. Yaqub Talib
On June 29, 2014, shortly before 1:45AM, a large number of people attending a party became involved in a verbal and physical altercation inside a club in the 1200 block of Main St. Included in that group was Mr. Yaqub Talib B/M 31 yrs old. Witnesses reported that Mr. Yaqub Talib was intoxicated, had thrown bottles and engaged others in physical confrontations.
A large number of these people were ejected from the club and continued the disturbance outside and Dallas police officers were called to the location. Mr. Yaqub Talib was observed by officers to be the primary instigator in the disturbance. He told officers that he played ball in the NFL and several of those with Mr. Yaqub Talib told officers that he played for the Denver Broncos. Officers attempted to diffuse the situation and instructed everyone to leave but Mr. Yaqub Talib continued the aggressive behavior and officers found him to be a danger to himself and others. He was placed under arrest for public intoxication. Mr. Yaqub Talib presented his Texas driver’s license as identification.
Supervisors at the scene notified the Communications Section that an NFL player from the Denver Broncos had been arrested but the Communications supervisor did not understand the spelling of the name and said she would google the Broncos’ current roster for the spelling. A supervisor at communications confirmed the correct spelling of the Denver Broncos player as Aqib Talib from that roster and notified the command staff.
Subsequent internal Dallas police emails used both Aqib and Yaqub and listed him as a Denver Broncos football player. The tweet with the incorrect information was sent, not in keeping with normal protocol, and listed the wrong brother as having been arrested.
We regret that this incorrect information was sent and extend our apologies to Mr. Aqib Talib.