Transcript of Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway domestic violence call.

Then-Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway at City Hall last November.

I spent the last hour transcribing the newly released tape of Mayor Dwaine Caraway, of Dallas, talking to cops about a domestic incident with his wife, State Representative Barbara Caraway, on January 2nd. Caraway has spent the last few months trying to keep the tape out of the public earshot, but a judge decided last night it had to be released. There was a lot of speculation about what was on the tape–infidelity, drugs, whatever–but it seems, from Mayor Caraway’s point of view at least, to be about domestic violence. An argument arose after he says Barbara Caraway intended to throw away some of her husband’s aprons, and he objected. He alleges his wife then came after him with a knife through the crack between the frame and their game room door, though he wouldn’t absolutely say he felt she intended to harm or stab him. No one has, as yet, been able to get a comment from Rep. Caraway. I am anxious to hear her side of the story.

So far, the media are reporting the highlights (hardly the appropriate word, but.) and the tape itself is 20 minutes long. For those of you who don’t have time or technology, I’ve posted the transcript after the jump so you can see a little more nuance. Caraway speaks fondly of his wife, but also paints her as violent and out of control and manipulative. I think there’s a lot going on here, and I have reservations about posting this whole thing and even writing about this kind of stuff at all here on Hay Ladies! because it is so sensational, but for now, I guess I think getting more than just snippets out there in writing is better than the dramatic sound bites that have been pulled out so far. I’ll be thinking more on it throughout the day and just kind of want to get it up here to feel it out.

Caraway didn’t know he was being recorded when he sat in an unmarked police car with two cops in Chief David Brown’s “high profile” special crimes unit. For quickness’ sake, I’ve put their quotes in brackets and Caraway’s without. There are typos, which I’ll be fixing. You’ll see.

This is what he told them:

Caraway: I’m holding the door like this, (unintel.), and I held the door, become (unintel.), had I not held the door, then it would have escalated into something else, so to separate myself form her I stayed down in the game room away from her holding the door, so she couldn’t come through, so of course she kickin’ the door, she doing every damn thing under the sun, and I didn’t have any keys, I’m locked into the game room, when she leave, we can go into the house, [talk about where the house is] so goddamn, it was a situation. I’m saying she don’t need to be on the news, I don’t need to be on the news, she getting ready to be sworn in, and all this stuff, and you know she’s state legislature, oh shit, I’m just trying to handle it so I get on these telephones, call the neighbors, call my friends who had just left, told them to turn around and come back, called her mother in Amarillo, called her sister in Red Oak. And then I called the chief.

Caraway: So I told chief what was happening and try to let’s see the best way, because normally when Barbara, I think Barbara has a chemical imbalance, I think, I hate to say that. but I think that that is probably what it is. She sometimes can get in a fit of rage, it’s not about infedelitiy, it’s not about me hitting her, she just, she just, the smartest person in the world, and when she gets set off, everybody just get out of the way, she just went and took it too far tonight.

[How long have ya’ll been married?] Sixteen years December 10th [Do y’all have kids?] No, we got little two dogs in the back yard. [When you say, she was going, did she ever get to the knives?] Well, you know, let me say, being in the position that I’m in and the position that she’s in, knowing the consequences of, knife came into play, but not where it’s right here with my eyes, but certainly, she raking that sumbitch up and down the crack in the door, I’m fully aware of that, I don’t think Barbara has intentions of hurting me but in the midst of a fit of rage, you never know what may happen. The best thing for me to do, so I wouldn’t put bruises and hurt her, not being afraid, was for me to try to do what I needed to do to try to keep the situation under control as best I could under the circumstances because I mean could have walked out of there, and if I’da walked out of there, I’da walked out of there with a chair, and I’d a been swinging and protecting myself, period. But I did not want it to escalate to that level.

[How did you finally get out of there?] I talked to her, I said, I was in there about 25 minutes, [Caraway laughs] holding that damn door, and my stupid ass put a chair up to the door, and I’m standing there, you know, right by the chair, and she kicked that goddamn door and that chair hurt my fucking leg, i thought my leg was broke. So I said that’s a bad move. [Cops laugh] but eventually after she told the neighbors to stop ringing her goddamn doorbell [Now did you call the neighbors?] Yeah, I called them, I called Miss Williams and I told Michael to come back and they came to the door, ring the doorbell, ring the doorbell, ring the doorbell, and she finally left back from the kitchen and went in there to tell them not to ring the doorbell no more and get away. Alright. And so then I said Barbara look, I’m on leave. I’m gonna leave. Gimme my keys and I’ll leave. She went, she gave me the key to the BMW but she slid it down through the crack in the door, and that’s the only place I wanted it to come because I was not going to open up the door to try and receive it, and I said gimme the house key, because in the game room, and you all will see, I’m locked in, I can’t get out, I can’t go out where she is, and I couldn’t go out the back door because I got double locks, and I ain’t have no key. so she came and put the keys to there. So I said okay fine, so when I got the keys, I said okay, now I got the keys, I took those aprons, I took the aprons and I wrapped the aprons around the door, the strings of the apron strings, to where I could have a moment to go over to my back door to come out my back gate, so that’s how I got out of there.

[Obviously you don’t want to press charges?] Oh no never, I don’t want to, obviously as I told Chief Brown, I felt that it had got to a point where I needed to turn up to some kind of notch [friends come over to the car, say they’re taking barbara to their house] wish it hadn’t gone this way [asks friends to drive by with barbara so cops can see she’s physically alright] I said no, Chief, I don’t need her in any kind of situation. It ain’t me. This shit’s been going on for a while, that’s why I’m able to know how, but never, has it escalated to this point where I’ve ever had to get to this level. It was, it was, this is for two or three reasons, one to protect her, but for one to protect myself, I was in a situation to where I’m saying shit, I can’t spend the night, I looked on my telephone, I have one bar left on my telephone, I said shit, I didn’t have no keys, and at some point I knew I was going to have to come out of there, but whatever point that would be and what time it would have been I don’t know.

[Our only concern is you said is it escalating?] No, I said escalated to this point tonight, this is not the first altercation that we’ve had [but you’ve never called police on her ..?] no, no, at one point 13 years ago, thirteen years ago, when we were living over on Alaska, 13 years ago, and Charlotte M., Charlotte had to intervene, because Barbara fucking walked barefoot from freakin’  1402 Alaska all the way past the zoo to the old Gulf station that was right there at 35, and um, that particular night, police did have to get involved but that was by way and through Charlotte, but you know it was resolved, she just blew a gasket. It’s never been a history of domestic violence, no domestic violence report, no ever hitting, where I’ve hit her or any of that, no catchin me with no nother woman or all of that, so it ain’t about that part of it, honestly, she is, her family, the reason it’s important that Larry and her family get involved is that they need to, to try to get some type of counseling, would I go with her? Yeah, I don’t have a problem, do I need counseling? No, I don’t think so, but would I go, yes, to satisfy and to make this thing move further.

[When she gets sworn in will she live in austin?] Yeah, she’ll be down there. If she had been able to get a plane, I’m sure she’d go to austin tomorrow. She’s due to leave Thursday, when she goes to Austin that’ll change the atmosphere, normally she go to bed and wake up, man she be cooking breakfast, like she cooked breakfast this morning, you never think anything was wrong, she come over here and talk to me, say what are you doing, she bragging, she bragging on me and all this stuff, she love the dogs, I don’t know what the hell it is, I swear to god, but it’s to a point now where I’m going to have to take a different approach and perspective because at this point, she needs to have her space or whatever the case is, it’s not about another man, i’m not in fear of any of that, it’s that she is, I really think it’s power, and a lot of people, some people can’t handle it, some elected officials can’t handle it, like Elsie Fay Higgins when it was over for her, it just blew her mind, I don’t know that, and even if I state it, I don’t know what the hell it is, shit.

[You know, our concern is that what if she actually does something next time, you’re showing concern, we’ve got to show concern] What I think probably is going to happen, we’re probably going ot have to get a separation away and begin to let the legal stuff take its course, I am not going to continue to put myself in a uncomfortable and dangerous situation, potentially, so that’s number one. Number two if we were to get a divorce I would leave this house for a week or two weeks, that’s her niece there, I would leave this house, they could put a U-Haul truck, they could take every freakin thing out of here, whatever they want, it ain’t nothin in there that i must have, I’d like to have a couple clean pair of underwear and something to make some adjustments, other than that, just come back and get re-cranked up and go from there, my parents live two streets over on Corinth, so I would, I’ve put a lot into the house, I would hate to leave the house and leave this type of element here in the neighborhood here, versus, me being in the house, I’d like to remain in the house, she can have every damn thing in there, and when we go in there y’all can see it [is she still in there?] she getting ready to leave now, the only thing in there that looks disturbed is I was cleaning out my closets today, I got clothes all over the living room floor, my suits and shirts and stuff, everywhere because I was cleaning out the closet to rehang and put stuff back in order, that’s the only, that’s the only thing that if you walk in my house it’s never like that but it’ll be like that in a little bit. Other than that, man, i don’t know.

[Mr. Caraway, you obviously, like chief say, you don’t want] uh uh [anything to happen, but I did hear you say, is that them right here?] that’s my neice [there’s two people in the car] [more talking about people outside] [The only thing I heard you say was that you’re wife, she stuck that knife through the door and put the knife up through the crack in the door?] That sure is disappointing. And I can’t .. [Do you think that was maybe opening it? Or do you think she was trying to stab you?] I can’t say. I really can’t say that. So, we don’t, I don’t want to go that direction. Because I got so many pistols in there, if she wanted to harm me, i mean, you know, then she could have, you know, went and did something else. Now that’s them in the truck.

[Do you understand how, I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through this process much, Mr. Caraway] She may get out, so y’all can see her. That’s her. So, that’s her. Y’all can see her. Check her out while you can. [rustling on the tape] [You were talking about maybe a divorce and stuff like that, documentation, she might, divorces get dirty] I’m going to show you know, see, now this is her little show of what she got, because she know goddamn well this is wrong. And I’ll tell you that. [Right, and you know, when she says she doesn’t want to let us in … we know better than that …] So we can go around to the house now. We can go around and we can go in. [Documentation is always the key to everything, sometimes bein gin political power …] Man, let me tell you something. [Everybody wants to take a stab at you especially if someone’s running against you. So.] [long pause] Well, I’m glad she finally–see, now there, she doesn’t find, she doesn’t look nothing like [Sweet and innocent! It’s all your fault!] [laughing] I’m gonna show you now that she’s out of there, we’ll go in the house, I’ll show you what (unintel.? what time?) it is. [The Chief Brown task, my unit, which is Littlejohn, I think you know Littlejohn] Mmmhmm, I know everybody [and Gallagher, and most of my guys are very senior guys, so we handle all the high profile] (unintel.), and she brought this on, man! Now, listen. Any time y’all would say that I’m wrong, cryin, she was going through my damn aprons in the trash, and the only thing I said, you gon through away my aprons, and boom, she hit a motherfuckin’ gasket. [I been there.] But I want y’all to come into my house.

[But anyway what I was trying to say with respect to y’all Mr. Caraway … ] Yeah go in through the front, I came out through the back. [Outside of Chief Brown and us, we’re the special investigation, we do high profile, sensitive stuff, we’re not going to say anything. Saying that, I want to make sure that you understand that we, that the way our report process goes, we will make a report, not a police report, we will make a thing called a misc. incident report of this having occurred. And that’s just, we have to do that, so it doesn’t look like anybody, we came out here and investigated and it’s okay. We’re not trying to go behind your back.]

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
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One Response to Transcript of Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway domestic violence call.

  1. Ginny says:

    I knew a man once whose wife had shot him. He told me, “When I was lying on that floor, shot, I thought to myself that I better start watching what I say.”

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