FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead called it “the most important meeting of his career.”
He faced a community angry over a deadly shooting last week involving one of his officers.
Thursday night he got an earful over the department’s use of deadly force. Though he patiently listened to all their complaints and patiently answered all their questions, citizens who attended the meeting did not seem satisfied with the response.
Resentment towards the department had apparently been building for a long time.
But first, there was the matter that brought it to the forefront. The lines to speak to Chief Halstead started with more than a dozen people, upset since the day Charal Thomas was fatally shot.
One man asked, “Why has that officer not been or has that officer been suspended?”
A woman said, “12 shots in a car. I don’t get it. I don’t get that other officers were around and the tires couldn’t have been shot out. I don’t get it.”
Then there were the grievances from times past. “We’ve got some police officers who need to find some other employment or adjust their attitude,” a man said.
Chief Halstead acknowledged their complaints. “This broke us and now we need to fixt it,” he said.
Charal Thomas’ family was there too. Adam Conley saved his words for last and for the officer who killed his step-brother. “That night was not self defense. It was not trapped or being drug. It was cold blooded murder in front of his three kids.”
Chief Halstead offered his sympathy and his promise for action.
“We are deeply saddened and we are sorry that it happened. And I know words are shallow but you will see actions as we move forward.”
Citizens also asked for a third party review of Thomas’ fatal shooting. Chief Halstead, who went through something similar with the raid on the Rainbow Lounge already planned on it. The first meeting is in May.