Family of Slain Teen Demands Apology from Mayor

Days after protest turns ugly outside Farmers Branch city hall, family of teen killed by former cop returned for answers

Family members of a slain 16-year-old were again denied a meeting with the mayor of Farmers Branch Thursday morning, days after a similar effort resulted in a raucous protest.

The family of Jose Cruz, who was shot and killed in March by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer, sought a meeting Tuesday night with Mayor Bob Phelps, and again on Thursday.

On Tuesday, family members sought an audience with the mayor because they wanted an apology from the city for the shooting, which resulted in now-former Officer Kenneth Johnson’s arrest for the murder of Jose Cruz, and assurances that the city has taken steps to address similar situations in the future, according to civil rights activist Carlos Quintanilla, who is acting as a representative of the family.

When the family was turned away, dozens of supporters flooded a Farmers Branch city council meeting and vowed to protest outside of the mayor’s home until they could get that meeting.

When the crowd became unruly, Mayor Phelps left the council chambers with the assistance of a police escort, and retreated to his car – all while the crowd followed.

Quintanilla and several of Cruz’s close relatives, including his mother, Anna Henriquez, returned Thursday morning to city hall in an effort to meet with the mayor.

“We want him to address the family. We want him to talk to the family and say, ‘I feel your pain. I feel your suffering. I’m sorry for your loss. We are hurt just like you. We hurt for your community.’ That’s what we want the mayor to say to Anna Henriquez,” Quintanilla said, prior to the family’s meeting.

Instead of Mayor Phelps, Farmers Branch City Manager Charles Cox met with Quintanilla and Cruz’s family behind closed doors, according to Quintanilla.

Cruz was killed on March 13 after a short, high-speed car chase from Farmers Branch into Addison.

According to investigators, former officer Johnson reportedly spotted Cruz and another teen, Edgar Rodriguez, burglarizing cars in the parking lot of his apartment complex.

Johnson then chased the two teens in his personal vehicle into Addison, until his vehicle struck theirs, according to Addison police.

Shortly after the crash, Johnson shot and killed Cruz and critically wounded Rodriguez, according to investigators.

Johnson resigned his position from the Farmers Branch Police Department and was later arrested and charged with homicide. He posted bond and is out of jail pending trial.

The family of Jose Cruz has sued both the city of Farmers Branch and Johnson for wrongful death.

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