FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price says the city will bring in a third party of experts from across the country to review the Fort Worth Police Department.
The city is still working to create a police oversight board. The city manager says candidates for the board's police monitor will be considered next month.
People are reacting to the swift action taken to charge former Officer Aaron Dean with murder. He was arrested Monday around 6 p.m. and booked into the Tarrant County jail.
Fort Worth does not yet have a police review board. Six people have been killed by Fort Worth police gunfire this year. And yet, the mayor and police chief made it clear within 72 hours that the shooting and killing of Atatiana Jefferson was not justified.
“Atatiana was a beautiful, smart amazing young woman by all accounts who was unjustly taken from her family,” Mayor Price said. “On behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth, I'm sorry.”
“This will not be an opportunity for us to make excuses, but rather to investigate this case to the fullest to provide the justice we all seek for Atatiana,” said Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus.
The mayor even said that the police department’s move to release pictures of the gun Jefferson had in the home, which she had a license for, was “irrelevant.”
“In hindsight, it was a bad thing to do,” Kraus admitted.
Cory Session serves on the city’s Race and Culture Commission, specifically on the criminal justice committee, and is working with the city and police to start a police review board. He commends them for coming down on the truth.
“Ed Kraus and Betsy Price gave some medication to the citizens of Fort Worth to bring the temperature down and to start some healing,” Session said. “They’ve started some healing.”
According to community activists, part of that healing is Dean being charged with murder. He will now be forced to cooperate with police.
Session says Dean should work with his CLEAT, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, attorneys to make an apology.
“Make a formal apology. He needs to apologize to that family and say, ‘I messed up,’” Session said. “Say it. There is no defense.”
Session says the next step is understanding how this happened. He says it’s not racism, but failure to follow use of force policy and de-escalation policy, as the chief said.
“It’s training. It’s training. It’s training. It’s training,” Session said.
As for the police review board, city leaders have not chosen a police monitor, nor have they appointed anyone to the board. They’re still determining the parameters of what the board can and cannot do.
In the meantime, the Jefferson family wants to speak with Mayor Betsy Price. Plans are being made for them to meet privately.