FORT WORTH, Texas - The city of Fort Worth is taking a step toward healing racial divisions after hearing from people of all colors.
The city council approved a list of suggestions made by the Race and Culture Task Force with the goal of improving the way the city handles race-related issues.
The task force exists mainly because of a viral video from two years ago. Fort Worth resident Jacqueline Craig had called police because she said a neighbor assaulted her son. But instead of getting help, she and her two daughters were arrested by a white officer.
The group formed to advise the city council and primarily suggest changes within the police department. For example, it suggested a citizen review board to oversee the Fort Worth Police Department, along with sensitivity training and education.
Task force members were encouraged by the fact that the council approved their recommendations but said the focus now is making sure city leaders follow through.
"What we're asking the council to do is to instruct the city manager to come up with a plan within 90, by March 1, on how we begin implementing these things including a police/civilian review board, including talking about redistricting and those kinds of things. The city manager cannot just put it aside and wait on it. He’s supposed to come back in 90 days and tell us how we begin,” said Bob Ray Sanders, a member of the Fort Worth Race & Culture Task Force.
“The citizen review board needs to be more of an oversight board. The current proposal lacks any teeth. It lacks accountability. It has the appointment of participants being from the city council which means that you’ll have individuals that will be beholden to the city council. So, in its current form really they might as well not do it,” added Mindia Whittier of United Fort Worth.
United Fort Worth has been critical of the task force’s process and the final recommendations. Whittier is also concerned the group did not address immigrant needs.
The Fort Worth Police Association also gave pushback, specifically on the citizen review board.
The city has 90 days to implement the recommendations.