Price meets with protesters, calls for enhancing police policies

Fort Worth protest, June 1, 2020 photography by Amber Shumake

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said on Saturday, June 13 that she has met with members of groups that have been protesting in Fort Worth in recent weeks.

“This was not my first meeting with those protesting and it won’t be my last,” she said in a Facebook post. “(Saturday) we discussed calls to action and ways we can make progress in the community. I have committed to bringing this discussion to a public city council work session, so that the entire community can hear Council take part in these critical conversations. Let’s keep working, Fort Worth,” she said in the post.

On Friday, June 12, Price released a letter where she called for enhancing certain police policies and ensuring existing policies are enforced under the General Orders of the Fort Worth Police Department .

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 “Over the past three weeks, I have seen and heard the outcry over the killing of George Floyd, and the cry for justice has reverberated throughout our nation,” Mayor Price said in a statement posted on her Facebook page. “But, as I have said before, we know that this was only one instance that occurs far too often in cities and towns across America. To those calling for justice and greater progress, I see you, hear you, and pledge to working alongside the community in our collective efforts to provide equity and justice for our communities of color.”

The mayor noted that the current policies are already in place in Fort Worth:

1. Banning chokeholds and strangleholds.

2. Requiring de-escalation.

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3. Requiring warnings before shooting.

4. Requiring the duty to intervene.

5. Banning shooting at moving vehicles.

6. Use of force continuum.

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She called for two Fort Worth Police policies to be enhanced:

1. All alternatives be exhausted before shooting. This policy has been drafted and is undergoing final review by the City’s Police Monitor and Police Chief

2. Comprehensive reporting on the use of force. In 2018, the City created a Use of Force Review Board. This policy is currently under review by the Board.

Price said she is asking for regular updates from the Independent Third-Party Expert Panel assembled to review the Fort Worth Police Department’s training and polices in 2019, as well as the Fort Worth Police Monitor.

She said those updates will be shared with the public.

“As your Mayor, I will continue to listen and I will take action. My focus remains on uniting this city and pushing forward to see that we make progress. I know that much work remains to be done,” Price said.