Fort Worth city leaders hope a newly formed task force can help the city mend after racial tensions flared following controversial police incidents involving black residents.
The release of this video of Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters by Officer William Martin led to a number of racially charged events that many are still handling. The controversial arrest was a wake-up call for Fort Worth, some are saying.
“The Craig incident brought to the forefront a lot of unrest people were already feeling and it overflowed,” said task force member and longtime Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders.
The task force was formed specifically because of the Craig arrest, the protests and what's followed. Martin was suspended 10 days, but the black police chief went further with two of his top commanders. Both are black and both were demoted over the release of Martin's body cam video, something they deny being involved in.
“The community doesn't care about who released the video tape, they care about what was on the video tape,” Sanders said.
Task force member Corey Session says the challenge is to channel the feeling of racial divide into solutions that the city council can act on.
"This is a first step toward recognizing there is a race and cultural problem here in Fort Worth,” Session said.
The task force is independent of the city council. Members say they plan town hall meetings to hear from people from every part of the city.
"If we don't have diversity within the city, within business, within neighborhoods it's a breeding ground for divisiveness,” Session said.