FW Police Chief Gets Earful at Community Meeting

By Omar Villafranca
|  Friday, Mar 11, 2011  |  Updated 12:02 AM CDT
View Comments (
Police answered questions for about 200 people in wake of the fatal shooting of a man in front of his children by an officer who was being dragged by the man's SUV.

Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com

Police answered questions for about 200 people in wake of the fatal shooting of a man in front of his children by an officer who was being dragged by the man's SUV.

Photos and Videos

Police Chief Asks for Patience in Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation

The shooting of a man in front of his three children has drawn anger in Fort Worth.

Questions Remain After Police Shooting

Questions remain after a man was killed by police. Fort Worth police say the officer had no choice but to open fire. The big questions is whether it had to happen in front of the man's children.
More Photos and Videos

Fort Worth police and religious leaders held a meeting Thursday night to ease tensions over a controversial officer-involved shooting last month.

On Feb. 28, a Fort Worth police officer trying to pull over Charal Thomas was dragged by the man's sport utility vehicle when Thomas rolled up his window. Police said the officer shot and killed Thomas in fear of his life with Thomas' three children in the back seat.

Many of the residents at the meeting had questions for police and wanted answers on why police used deadly force with children in the car.

Chief Jeffrey Halstead told the crowd that the department doesn't have an exact protocol on what to do if a child is in the car when deadly force might be used.

"Would we love to take three seconds back on February 28th? There's a 100 percent in this entire nation that says yes," he said.

But the answers weren't good enough for some residents, including a few former Fort Worth police officers.

"I live in this community," former Officer Luther Perry said. "I served this community. The very first police forum, I introduced it. I understand. But today is a new day."

"We don't trust you. We don't believe you. We have been terrorized. We don't like you," said Bryan Muhammad, a leader with the Million More Movement.

Leslee Martin, the mother of one Thomas' children, told Halstead that her son is emotionally troubled by the incident.

"He was a great father," she said. "He loved those kids. He loved those kids. And that's something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. My son is terrified of the police. He's terrified."

Friends and family members of Thomas also told police that they plan to keep pressure on the department to change certain protocols when it comes to deadly force in the presence of children.

"It's a hot summer coming," said Mario Parks, Thomas' brother. "It's a hot summer coming, and I want it to be peaceful. Please bring justice for this man."

Halstead said he isn't opposed to sensitivity training for officers. He also said he hopes to continue the dialog with residents.

Previous Coverage:

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
Leave Comments
What's New
Get NBCDFW on Mobile!
Get NBCDFW's free news and weather... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out