Fort Worth Minorities Complain of Police Killings, Bias

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After a white Fort Worth, Tx., police officer shot and killed a black woman in her bedroom this month, many residents recalled times when they had tried calling the police and ended up sorry that they did, the New York Times reports. “This is not an isolated incident,” said the Rev. Kyev Tatum, who is part of a coalition asking the Justice Department to investigate “over-aggressive policing” in Fort Worth’s communities of color. “This is historic and it is systemic, and we understand that racism is at the heart of this.”  Jefferson, 28, was the sixth person to be killed by the Fort Worth police since June. Four of the six were black. In Dallas,  30 miles east of Fort Worth, a white off-duty police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison this month after she mistakenly entered the apartment of a black neighbor and shot him to death.

Fort Worth, the nation’s 13th largest city, is divided along racial and economic lines. About 65 percent f the police force is white — as are the mayor, the city manager, a majority of the City Council and now the police chief, after the department’s first black chief was fired this year. Black and Hispanic residents, who together make up a majority in the city, complain that they often feel ignored by city leadership and unfairly targeted by the police. Black residents on their own make up about 18 percent of the population, but they accounted for 40 percent of arrests in 2017. Public resentment had been building for years. Many residents said they knew people who had been shot, shocked by stun guns or wrestled by the police. At least four highly publicized encounters have been documented in video footage and lawsuits. Some officers have faced criminal charges and left the department.

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