NBC

Fort Worth Mayor Apologizes for Comment at Community Meeting

Mayor Betsy Price said she was sorry for a phrase used at a forum discussing the police department's handling of arrest

Fallout continues from the arrests of a Fort Worth woman and her two teenage daughters, which was captured in a video that soon went viral online.

Mayor Betsy Price and Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald spoke at a community forum Thursday night, where they backed up the police department's handling of the case.

One of Mayor Price's comments really struck a nerve that she didn't want the meeting to become a "bitch session."

"It was not only insulting, it was offensive and it was insensitive," said activist Cory Hughes.

On NBC 5's Lone Star Politics, which was recorded Friday and airs Sunday morning, Price apologized for the wording, but not the intent.

"I will apologize for the word. It was probably improper. But the idea was I want it to become a positive, concrete, moving-forward, instead of spending the next few months rehashing what we've already lived through," Price explained.

But community activists and attorneys representing the family at the center of the arrest video said Friday they can't move forward until their demands are met.

"The officer involved should be fired. The officer involved should be charged for crimes," said attorney Lee Merritt. "The neighbor who is responsible for an assault on a minor should be charged, and the false charges against the family should be dropped."

Until then, they're calling for a boycott of Fort Worth businesses, starting with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which kicks off this weekend.

"Don't spend a dime there," said Hughes.

The mayor and police chief are promising more outreach to listen to the community and learn from their response to the officer's 10-day suspension, with plans to send him back to the same neighborhood when he's done.

"The community spoke, really, in one voice, and they said they don't want the officer returned to that community," said Merritt. "The response was the decision has been made. Well, that's not listening, that's dictating."

Price said Friday that is one point that Fitzgerald may reconsider.

"On the surface it sounds like a very good idea," the mayor said. "When somebody breaks your trust, you want him to have a chance to rebuild that trust, but sending him back into that community right now may not be the thing to do, and the chief will have to go back, look at that decision."

Price acknowledged there was a clear breach of trust with the community that they'll work hard to repair with more public forums and outreach.

Activists, meanwhile, are planning another protest Saturday night, where they're calling "100 Mothers Stand with Jacqueline Craig." It's from 6 to 8 p.m. at First Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 3135 Lomita Street, Fort Worth.

Contact Us