Tensions flare at Fort Worth city council meeting following 4 police shootings
There was anger from some activists at Tuesday’s Fort Worth city council meeting.
The most recent shooting happened Sunday involving a 20-year-old suspect armed with a gun who was killed when police say both he and officers fired their guns.
Community members took their frustrations over Sunday's fatal Fort Worth police shooting to the city council.
The message from speaker after speaker was loud and clear: release the body camera video showing the interaction between police and 20-year-old JaQuavion Slaton.
Fort Worth PD says Slaton, who was armed with a handgun, ran from officers who then found him hiding in a flatbed pickup truck in someone's yard. They say he refused officers’ commands and fired his gun when they were trying to break the windows of the truck to get to him.
Three officers fired and killed Slaton. He was being picked up on an arrest warrant out of Tyler for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Bishop Mark Kirkland says he showed up in the Stop 6 neighborhood that night when the details about the officer-involved shooting were still unclear.
“The number one thing is transparency,” he said.
Manny Ramirez, President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, says the release of evidence from the department has been timely.
“The important thing is the true story,” he said. “And I think the police department has done a good job of getting the facts out there as quick as they could.”
Kirkland says it’s difficult for some people in Fort Worth to accept a police narrative without proof from a body camera.
“If you’re not ready to release it to the public, get 10 or 15 trusted members of our community,” he said. “Take them to a setting. Show them the tape where we can try to ease some of the tension in our community.”
Ramirez says people shouldn’t only be focused on the body camera video but the facts of the case as a whole.
Councilwoman Gyna Bivens is a lifelong resident of Stop Six and was out at the scene Sunday night looking for information herself. She's cautioning against a rush to judgment but is also urging the police department to be transparent.
“This police department has made a commitment last year really after the Jacquelyn Craig incident to strive for greater transparency,” Bivens said. “And so I told them as well we need to get that video out sooner than later and much sooner than we normally have done in the past. I’m really pleased so far with the pace of the investigation.”
City council members could not respond to the speakers because this topic was not on the agenda. However, Bivens said that people should be prepared for the evidence as a whole in case it’s not exactly what they expected or wanted to see.
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