Community Leaders Meet With Fort Worth PD In Wake Of Shooting

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Church leaders and residents in the city’s Stop Six neighborhood will get the chance to tell police their concerns after an officer shot and killed a man February 28, 2011.

Charal Thomas, 32, was pulled over last Monday at a convenience store on Fort Worth’s eastside. When Officer J. Romer tried to arrest him for outstanding warrants, police said Thomas refused to get out of the SUV, rolled Romer’s arm up in the window of the vehicle and dragged him for two blocks.

Romer then shot Thomas, killing him in front of three of his children who were also in the vehicle, investigators concluded.

The incident has outraged members of the community who believe Thomas’ death and the situation could have been avoided.

Community leaders have now requested a meeting with the police chief to discuss their concerns about this incident and previous encounters with officers, Thursday.

“The outcry we’re hearing from within the community is to the long history within the community of there being a perception that the police department treats our community differently than other communities,” said Rev. Kyev Tatum with the Fort Worth Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “We cannot continue to have this perception that there are two types of justices in Fort Worth, one for the ‘haves’ and one for the ‘have nots.’”

Tatum said their concern goes beyond Thomas’ death. He pointed to the death of Michael Jacobs, Jr., a 24-year-old black man who died in police custody in April 2009 after he was shot with a stun gun.

The City of Fort Worth ended up approving the largest cash settlement ever offered for a death-by-injury court case.

“We have to move beyond blame and shame and get to a point where there can be a sense of reconciliation,” Tatum said.

That’s exactly what the Fort Worth Police Department hopes to accomplish by meeting with Stop Six residents and church leaders, Thursday evening.

“This is how you learn more about your police department,” Chief Jeff Halstead said, “Instead of wondering what are they doing? Since Monday, since the shooting, what has happened?”

This week’s meeting is the first step toward a more connected Fort Worth, but Tatum believes police need a better understanding of the black community and its culture before change can occur.

“We believe Fort Worth is now positioned to heal and build,” Tatum said. “That cultural competence will help you handle and diffuse situations better.”

Police leaders are hoping together they can do that, and move past the fatal shooting that brought them to this point.

“Our message that we want to deliver is unity in the community and their police department will be there for them,” Halstead said, “not just in this incident but as we progress and build stronger relationships.”’

Organizers of Thursday’s meeting gathered at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Dock Bookshop on Meadowbrook.

Their objective was to move beyond the anger over the Charal Thomas shooting and unite the numerous community groups that have come forward during the last week.


One Comment

  1. amy says:

    this story makes me sick . this man was now chior boy . that police officer was trying to save his own life and return to his family. that man should have though of his children before he tryed ti kill a police officer. what about the danger he put his own kids in. stop blameing our protecters and place the blame where it belongs.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I agree w/Amy. Mr Thomas was certainly no choir boy. He knew he had children in his car, refused to comply with the officer’s orders and attempted to kill the officer by rolling his arm up in the window and speeding off. What did Mr Thomas think was going to happen? He steadfastly refused to stop so finally the officer shot him because the officer was in immediate fear for his own life. The Stop Six community could make great progress and move forward by teaching the residents that when an officer stops you, you must obey his orders. Failure to do so may result in ever more increasing stronger actions by the police.

  3. Isaac says:

    I totally agree. Everything that happened was a direct result of that man’s own actions. HE endangered his children’s lives as well as the officer’s. If the community of Fort Worth feels that this situation could have been avoided, ask yourselves, what would you have done in the officer’s position. Get dragged for who knows how many more blocks and possibly lose your own life or try to get the man to stop. Obviously, telling the man to get out of his vehicle did not work with verbal commands, much less did it work while being dragged a couple of blocks. Put yourself in that scenario.

    1. Greg says:

      I have to agree also. What if the person being dragged had been the drivers wife or another civilian. What would you hear then? What outrage would you hear several days after the incident if the cop had been run over and killed by the driver? Probably would not hear anything. Our public service employees have just as much right to protect their lives as criminals have.

  4. mkycp says:

    The chief should have told these leaders to go pound sand. An investigation was done and it showed the officer had to act to defend his life in the process of him doing his job. If the people in these communities want to be treated like everybody else, then they need to obey the law like everybody else. There is a reason there isn’t a big rush of people moving into these neighborhoods and it’s not because of the police brutality. We can’t have a separate set of laws for every community. We live by the laws of this land. If a person can’t obey those laws, then they need to leave, or be dealt with in accordance with those laws.

  5. Amanda says:

    I agree. The man obviously broke the law by dragging the officer by his arm a couple of blocks. This man did not think of his children when he did this. The officer was in fear of his life. I would be too! Being dragged from an SUV is not how I would want to spend my day. I do not think that this situation has anything to do with color either. Regarding the comment that Tatum made about the police needing to understand the black community, think about this question…would there have been such an uproar if the person who was killed were white or even hispanic? Would there need be a meeting about understanding the white or hispanic community? Probably not, I don’t think color should matter. Should the officer should have just ignored his warrants because he “didn’t understand the black community”? He was doing his job. The officer did not shoot this man because he was black. He shot him because he was being dragged by his arm from the man’s SUV as he sped off! If you do the crime then I think you should do the time, no matter what color you are or what neighborhood you live in. I don’t think that teaching our younger generation to question authority is the best option. Our younger generations are already ill mannered and disrespectful enough without having adults show them that blaming our protectors and not the doers is an okay thing.

  6. LLG says:

    Nest time there is a call for help from our police in this area, need to just disconnect!

  7. Todd says:

    Why do the police pander to these moronic “leaders” ? If blacks or anyone for that matter wants to break the law they deserve whatever happens to them !

  8. Danny says:

    How in the world does a man roll his car window up on an officers arm,trapping him, and drive off and not expect to be shot,kids in the car or not,that calls for lethal action ! What was he thinking and why does FWPD have to explain anything ! Its an open and shut case !

  9. harperip says:

    i can’t wait to hear what aspect of the black culture currently misunderstood by the police department was a factor in this case. i’m certain that the police department will embrace a procedural change regarding the evaluation of cultural sensitivities and anomalies associated with the black community as part of the split second decision making process in a life-or-death situation. it saddens me to think that if the cop had been killed because he hesitated to use deadly force that the black community would simply remain quiet as opposed to rallying against the criminal that was guilty. rev tatum needs to get his message straight. shouldn’t he be preaching christian values as opposed to black values ?

  10. NoObamaIn2012 says:

    Why is FWPD bothering to meet with these people. Is the new chief taking cues from Dallas PD? Is the Dallas PD chief sending his Apology-Bus to the FW chief? Wanted suspect and drug dealer Thomas was trying to kill Officer Romer ( capital felony) in front of of Thomas kids…. where are the Church and community leaders on that fact??? They ought to be going to meet with FW Chief to thank him for taking felon Thomas off the street forever. And FW Chief should be presenting Officer Romer with a commendation.

  11. Kristi says:

    Im tired of hearing all the race stuff. Just because you live in a black neighborhood does not mean you are above the law. That man was obviously not a very good person if he had warrants. He is the one at fault for being dumb enough to do what he did. People quit crying race everytime someone is killed for their own wrong doing.

  12. Wayne says:

    When you deal with a deck of SPADES, A ROYAL FLUSH only comes from the toilet.

  13. NoRobocops says:

    Was the Charal “RaRa” Thomas shooting justified or homicide? Take a listen to this must hear podcast about this very topic, then you decide. A few reminders before you listen.
    The medical examiner ruled this a homicide in a matter of hours. Where are the statements from the two undercover officers who witnessed the entire incident? How many reprimands does this officer currently have in his folder? Why did he leave the Watuaga police dept after six years.? This cop had a total of eight years experience, yet he stuck his hand inside a vehicle which he is not trained to do. What type of injuries does the officer have a broken wrist, broken arm, broke leg, the answer is none of the above. Yet, we are to believe he was being drug while his arm was trapped inside of the vehicle’s window. Wake up people, a six year old knows that story has bullet holes in it. When I listened to this broadcast, things became much clearer, hope it helps you too…


    Do you think the Charal T. “RaRa” Thomas shooting justified or homicide? Take a listen to this must hear podcast, then you decide.

  15. Robert says:

    What is fascinating is not police brutality, but the level of bigotry that is in Fort Worth.

  16. Jimmy says:

    I agree with Robert. It is the amazing how arrogant the people making comments on this story are. It seems as though people who have every advantage in life to look down on others who have no chance. The officers could have used several different tactical options to save his and Mr. Thomas life (such as breaking the window) but he chose to save his own life at the expense of Mr. Thomas and possibly at the expense of Mr. Thomas children. If this situation had happened in a affluent neighborhood they would be up in arms. Next-time say what you really mean and that is poor black people should never challenge there treatment from “good white people” no matter how fatal.

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