Home / US / Before a Fort Worth police officer shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home, the relationship with the community was already tense

Before a Fort Worth police officer shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home, the relationship with the community was already tense



The meeting was captured on a mobile phone video posted on Facebook. The video went viral and sparked outrage, protests and accusations of racism and excessive force.

The inhabitants demanded accountability and officials created a working group to address racial and cultural justice. At the end of last year, the Fort Worth Task Force on Race and Culture revealed 22 recommendations in areas such as housing, education and criminal justice. The recommendations on criminal matters focused on providing more civilian supervision of the police department through an independent supervisor and increasing the number of minority officers in the force.

City officials said they had moved forward with these recommendations when Officer Aaron Dean shot Atatiana Jefferson in his home.

Officials plan to interview candidates for the Independent Police Monitor's position in November, City Manager David Cooke told reporters after Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus announced the dean's departure.

People understand that officers have tough jobs and must "make quick decisions," Fort Worth Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa said in an interview.

"But at the same time, they realize, we realize that there are some officers who will sometimes use very bad judgment, violate policies and procedures and do things that are incredibly wrong," Costa said. "We want to be able to stop it."

Kraus said that Dean violated several departmental politicians, including those who used force and shelling, and had planned to meet with the officer on Monday to fire him for the violations and his unprofessional behavior, but the officer resigned Monday morning, Kraus said.

  Atatiana Jefferson & # 39; s nephew saw her killed by Fort Worth police officer Aunt may have saved boy's life
Dean arrested on a murder charge on Monday, police said.

A police supervisor and community surveillance board would let officials know "how well the police department has followed its e "Politics," said Costa.

"I think Chief Kraus, through his own leadership, shows that he does not have to wait for those resources, which would be advantageous," Costa said.

"He has the tools he needs now to take action and he acted decisively in accordance with appropriate procedures to dismiss the officer who clearly violated the police procedures and acted in a manner contrary to the training provided by the police," Sa Costa.

CNN has reached the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), the state's largest law enforcement organization, which usually represents police officers in such situations to see if Dean has representation from that office.

Status of Criminal Recommendations

Costa said that the city set aside about $ 300,000 for the salary of an independent supervisor and assistant. Officials hope to have a screen selected by the end of the year, he said.

The ideal candidate could be a former officer or FBI agent, someone with "deep knowledge of police practice … who knows civil rights, who can apply the law fairly," Costa said.

A study included in the working group's report said that only 59% of African Americans in Fort Worth and 64% of Latin Americans were satisfied with the overall quality of police protection, compared to 75% of white residents.

Costa said that the monitor would help with the recommendations for the structure of the review board, which officials hope could be appointed by next spring.

The board would give residents a chance to provide input and submit complaints, and the board could review formal complaints, the report said.

"We've been steadily moving forward," Costa said.

Bishop Mark Kirkland, a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, said the recommendations were a good idea, but he wants the Citizens' Review Board to have the ballot box.

"It's toothless without the meeting," said Kirkland, the leader of St. Mark Church in Fort Worth.

He said the city "is moving at a horse and buggy pace," as he carries out criminal justice reforms.

"I think the pace is intentional to wait for us because they feel that if they wait for us, we" I will go back to business as usual, he said.

"We must have a presence"

The recommendations include restoring a cadet program to help recruit minorities and create partnerships with school districts.

Costa said that money was deposited last month to pay for the program to be run from the police department.

The report requires an external recruitment plan to increase diversity in the department and within the framework of companies and detectives. The goal is to increase the proportion of African Americans in the force to at least 12%, up from 10.6% in 2018, and the number of Latin Americans to 21% up from 19.9%, the report says.

Kirkland, who is black, said the department must recruit more minorities to the force.

"We must have a presence," he said.

Saturday's deadly shooting was the ninth police-related shooting this year by Fort Worth Police. Seven of them were fatal, according to President Brandon O & # 39; Neil, department.

Five of these shootings have taken place since June 1, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"African Americans in this city are not only undervalued, but they have absolutely no value," says Pastor Michael Bell, pastor of Greater St. Stephen First Church to CNN.

Bell, who knows Craig, said she was "someone who called the police and expected the police to protect and serve."

Craig and her daughters were released. The officer who arrested her was suspended for 10 days without pay.

The chief of police then said that the official was "very sorry for what has happened."

Jefferson's neighbor, James White, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he called a police number that was not urgent for a security check. He said he was worried because he knew she was at home with her nephew.

During Sunday's sermon, Bell said he told his congregation that they could put themselves in danger by calling the police.

"We don't know if we can survive a 911 call," he said.

CNN's Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Sheena Jones, Dan Shepherd and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.


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