Protestors overflow first Fort Worth City Council meeting since Atatiana Jefferson’s death
FORT WORTH, Texas - There was a packed house at Tuesday’s Fort Worth City Council meeting as people protested the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson and the city's handling of it so far.
The crowd waiting to get into the council chamber wrapped around the building. It was so full that not everyone was allowed in. Others remained outside city hall to protest.
Tensions were high inside of council chambers. One person was removed from the room while several others were escorted by the city marshals back to their seats for speaking out of turn.
Fort Worth City Hall reached its capacity shortly after the council meeting began. Somewhere between 300 and 350 people were allowed inside.
Several items were pushed off of the agenda to a future date in order to allow enough time for the more than 100 speakers who signed up.
Affidavit: Atatiana Jefferson pulled handgun from purse because she heard noises in her backyard
Mayor Betsy Price requested that local speakers take the podium first and that speakers from nearby cities wait until after local speakers.
It was clear that council members and the mayor expected the speakers to talk about Jefferson’s death and Fort Worth PD near the end of the agenda during the citizen presentation portion.
However, many speakers who had signed up to speak about various agenda items did not address those items.
Instead, they repeatedly said they do not feel safe in Fort Worth and made several calls for both City Manager David Cooke and Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa to be fired.
The mayor repeatedly warned speakers to stay on topic, directing the city marshals to escort speakers back to their seats several times.
At one point, the crowd broke out into a “We are not safe” chant. But Mayor Price shut it down and warned she would adjourn the meeting if speakers did not stay on topic.
Community activists from the Next Generation Action Network, United Fort Worth and other groups addressed the council. They’ve declared a Black State of Emergency in Texas, claiming that local governments have demonstrated a pattern of discriminatory conduct depriving black and brown people of their Constitutional rights.
Mayor Price has asked Cooke to bring in a third-party panel to review police procedures, use of force and processes that they have in place. She is asking Cook to report updates on gathering that panel to the council every Tuesday for the immediate future.