Today the Interim Police Chief for Fort Worth, Texas held a press conference to answer questions about the arrest and charging of former police officer Aaron Dean for the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman, in her own home. A neighbor had called the non-emergency police phone number for a wellness check on Jefferson, because he saw her door was open. Dean approached the apartment window, ordered her to put her hands up without identifying himself, and then shot her seconds later.
Interim Police Chief Edwin Kraus was forthright in the press conference, and said he was planning to fire Officer Dean, but Dean resigned first. He called the killing of Jefferson "inexcusable," and said they were looking at having a third party come in to review and make changes to the practices of the police department's procedures. When he was asked about morale within the department, that's when he had to cut the press conference short. Gabe Guttierez discussed it with Katy Tur:
GUTIERREZ: So the police chief walked away from the lectern right there. Again, very emotional. He says he's going to be asking the FBI to potentially launch a civil rights investigation into this. The victim's family is asking for retraining. Still a lot of questions about all this moving forward. As you heard the chief, he also says he wants to bring in a third party group to look at reforming this police department. Here in Fort Worth, there have been six deadly officer involved shootings here in the city so far this year, Katy.
It's good that Interim Chief Kraus was going to fire Aaron Dean. It's good that Dean was arrested and charged with murder so swiftly. It's the right thing that racist, trigger-happy police be dealt with swiftly and harshly, and to the fullest extent of the law. And it's understandable that someone who is trying to do the right thing might be frustrated or sad that the community doesn't trust you despite your best efforts.
Keep in mind, though, this is less than two weeks after white former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in jail for murdering Black neighbor, Botham Jean in his own home. Guyger was given forgivness, grace, and hugs by not only Jean's brother, but the judge who presided over the trial. Joshua Brown, a key witness against her in the case, and also in an upcoming civil case against the police department, was murdered days after Guyger was sentenced, and the Dallas police try to say with a straight face it was because of a drug deal gone bad. As Elie Mystal said in Above The Law:
Nobody will help us. They kill us on tape, and nobody will help. They kill us in our homes, our cars, our parking spaces, or just while walking down the streets, and nobody will help. They escape indictments and convictions, and nobody will help. When they are convicted they receive the lightest possible sentence, and nobody will help. When we take the streets we are met with military style counter-insurgency tactics, and nobody helps. You vote for open bigots and racists, over the OVERWHELMING objection of black and brown people, who then implement bigoted and racist policies that bring death and destruction to black and brown bodies, and not only does nobody help us, but they blame us for not voting ENOUGH to help them.
So, it was a moment, I guess, when the police chief couldn't finish the presser because he was sad the community doesn't trust the police force. But if his emotions are coming out because he feels sad about the alleged "good apples" on his force having their hard work erased with a hose (Interesting choice of images there, Chief...) I'd like to introduce him to the entire Black community of America.