FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth is “broken,” Mayor Betsy Price said as tensions rose following the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by a white police officer who shot and killed her during a welfare check.
Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean is charged with murder after he shot and killed Jefferson in her home on East Allen Avenue early Saturday morning. A neighbor called a non-emergency line asking for a welfare check. The officer did not identify himself, went into the back yard and shot Jefferson through a window.
More than 100 residents disrupted Tuesday’s city council meeting, calling for changes in leadership at city hall.
"The tragic death of Ms. Jefferson has left this city broken,” Price said in a statement Wednesday. “Some of the sentiments we heard last night – Citizens don’t feel safe, they are scared, tired and hopeless.”
On Monday, Price apologized to Jefferson’s family on behalf of the city, and promised to bring in national experts to review the Fort Worth Police Department from top to bottom.
That didn’t quell the anger at Tuesday’s council meeting, in which an overflow room was created for the excess crowd and tempers flared as citizens addressed the council and the mayor.
“At some point, this city’s going to have to realize, it’s not us that are going to start a riot,” Rodney McIntosh said in one of the night’s more passionate comments to city leaders. "Y'all are going to start a riot. We are tired of seeing our children, tired of seeing our women, and our sons gunned down in the city that y’all say belongs to us.”
“We will continue to listen, and we are taking immediate action,” Price said Wednesday. "My focus remains on healing this city and pushing forward to see that we make progress."
According to Price’s statement, the independent, third-party panel will be in place by November 19 and will provide updates to the city every week.
She also outlined what she calls continued implementation of the Race and Culture Taskforce recommendations, including hiring an independent police monitor, and a diversity and inclusion officer.
More on WFAA:
- Black faith leaders say killing of Atatiana Jefferson part of larger policing problem
- Funeral plans announced for Atatiana Jefferson
- Who is Aaron Dean and what might his attempted defense be?
- 'I'm devastated,' says neighbor who called police before Atatiana Jefferson was shot, killed by officer
- 6 people killed by Fort Worth police officers in 2019, records show