FORT WORTH — As emotions swelled in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a handicapped black father by a white police officer, Police Chief Jeff Halstead met with church leaders Wednesday to talk about the treatment of blacks by Fort Worth police.
"We understand that tensions are running high in the community, and before it gets completely out of control, we want to make sure that the police know that people in this community deserve fair treatment," said Luther Perry, a founder of Ministers Against Crime.
Also Wednesday, police released more details about the death of Charal "RaRa" Thomas, 32, who was shot Monday night by officer J. Romer during a traffic stop in far east Fort Worth.
Thomas refused to get out of his Ford Expedition and locked the doors. When Romer reached through a partially opened window to unlock the driver's door, Thomas rolled up his window, trapping the officer's arm, police have said.
Thomas then drove forward, dragging Romer, who eventually hopped onto the SUV's running board, pulled his weapon and fired 12 shots at Thomas, police said Wednesday. An adult passenger and three of Thomas' children were also in the SUV.
Thomas lost a leg when he was 12 after he was wounded by a shotgun blast, relatives said.
Police Lt. Paul Henderson, a department spokesman, said officers are not trained to reach through an open window to try to unlock a door as a means of getting a driver out of a vehicle. It was a decision, "good or bad," that the officer made in a split-second. "His intention was to separate the driver from the kids," Henderson said. "No one was any more surprised than he was when the driver rolled the window up on his arm."
Henderson said the department would review the case from all aspects, from a tactical standpoint to procedures and policies, "to see if we can do something better."
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