Cops, Community and The Coalition
Bre's review of the city council meeting that went viral and actionable steps YOU can take to create change in the city.
Last week I saw my city rally together like never before. Atatiana Jefferson was the 9th person shot by the Fort Worth police and the 6th person killed by Fort Worth police since June 2019. Tay, was much more than a hashtag but now her name joins the rolls of individuals killed by paid "shooters". I've been inundated with shootings of Black bodies. It fills my thoughts, every day. There is no escape. Thus, I find other ways to be an active citizen for my people by volunteering, mentoring, hosting community events and being a youth advocate. But, last week I decided I need to do a little more.
Last week, I attended a city council meeting...for the first time! Joining the hundreds of Fort Worth residents at city hall was invigorating. Listening to my brothers and sisters speak with fervor, intelligence, cleverness and conciseness was inspiring. The city's leaders did everything in their power to police the language AND the emotions. Here's a few things these meatballs did last week:
1. The city council prepared for a huge turnout...by filling the streets and room with tons of police officers.
2.There was no preparation to deal with the crowd beyond policing our bodies & language.
3. Doors were locked prior to 7pm and some people were not allowed in.
4. Mayor Betsy Price, Mayor pro tempore Dennis Shingleton, City Manager David Cooke & the City secretary Sarah Fullerton along with the other city council reps regularly looked uninterested and unmoved.
5. Mayor pro tempore actually shook his head and walked out on the second speaker during citizen presentations.
I could go on an on about the issues with the structure, organization, intimidation from the last week's meeting. But, I'd rather share some updates and next steps.
The citizens of Fort Worth have demanded that there be an independent investigation of the murder of Atatiana Jefferson by Aaron Dean. The citizens of Fort Worth have demanded that a community driven police oversight board must be established asap. Initially, the mayor announced that the committee would be led by City Manager David Cooke. Also, the plan to discuss the new diversity and inclusion department was set to take place at police headquarters.
After the community expressed concerns, the city has started looking for a different site to host the forum. Duh? You want the community to talk about issues with police at police headquarters?
Currently, there are a few candidates for director of this new diversity and inclusion department. Wanna meet the candidates? Check out the link below:
Leading the charge of community action is the activist group Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight. The group has been instrumental in mobilizing the Fort Worth community, listing demands and gathering key info for concerned community members. If you're in the Fort Worth area, come to the city council meeting Tuesday October 22nd at 7:00pm. The public city council meeting takes place at City Hall located at 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth.
Here's a copy of the 3:00 pm work session agenda:
Here's a copy of the 7:00pm public city council session agenda: http://fortworthtexas.gov/files/a600e3d5-b1f1-4bd9-aafc-2964af96a64c.pdf
Take a look at the list of demands provided by Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight for the Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price and city council.
(Taken from the Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight Facebook Page)
These are our current demands for local government regarding the murder of #AtatianaJefferson (updated 10/16/19 4:35pm):
1. WE DEMAND that Interim Chief Krause appoint one of the following attorney’s to oversee a third party INDEPENDENT criminal investigation into the murder of Atatiana Jefferson: Terri Moore, Albert Roberts, Roseanne Salinas, or Mike Heiskel
2. WE DEMAND Interim Chief Kraus release the full unedited body cam footage from ALL officers on the scene where Atatiana Jefferson was murdered
3. WE DEMAND the names of ALL officers on the scene at the time of Atatiana Jefferson’s murder be released and that they be fully investigated and properly disciplined for violation of department policy and procedures
4. WE DEMAND Interim Chief Kraus bring further charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment against Aaron Dean
5. WE DEMAND Effective Independent Community-Driven Police Oversight, and the convening of the preliminary working group plan, as outlined by the Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight
6. WE DEMAND that public safety be made a priority by divesting money from the police budget, and investing in our communities through affordable housing, living wages, affordable robust public transportation systems, and extensive quality of life improvements to usher in revitalization without gentrification, in every historically neglected neighborhood in this city
7. WE DEMAND that the City of Fort Worth create alternative, non-police response teams to address welfare checks, mental health calls, and non-critical instances
8. WE DEMAND written Police Policy that full unedited body camera footage of police shootings, deaths in custody, and all complaints of police misconduct and excessive force, be publicly released within 24 hours of the incident
9. WE DEMAND Mayor Price & City Council fire top city executives: City Manager. David Cooke & Asst City Manager. over police, Jay Chapa, for mismanagement and corruption
10. WE DEMAND that the city council add the following ballot measure to the next uniform election: Repeal Texas Government Code 143 for the Fort Worth Police Department
11. WE DEMAND that the city of Fort Worth address the SYSTEMIC problem within the CULTURE of its police department, given there have been MULTIPLE unjustified cases of excessive and deadly force
Your voice is needed.
You can follow Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight on Facebook @tcccoversight