Community and faith leaders on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to open a civil rights investigation into the Fort Worth Police Department in the wake of a white officer’s fatal shooting of a black woman in her home, saying the goal should be a police reform plan enforced by a federal judge, the Associated Press reports.
But it’s unclear if that objective is realistic given the disfavor, even hostility, the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump has shown toward such court-supervised plans, called consent decrees, which agency policymakers say too often tie the hands of officers while imposing burdensome costs. Pastor Kyev Tatum, among those who gathered at a news conference in Fort Worth to announce their request, said attempts to get the city to end the kind of abuses that contributed to the killing of Atatiana Jefferson Saturday hadn’t worked. No mechanism exists to hold city officials accountable, he said. “It’s time for somebody else to take control,” Tatum said. Tatum and others sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to determine whether there has been “a continued pattern and practice of using excessive force” against minorities in Fort Worth. Officer Aaron Dean, 34, resigned and was arrested Monday for firing a single bullet through a windowpane while investigating a neighbor’s report about the front door being open at Jefferson’s home.