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Fort Worth councilman calls on city to be more transparent with police chase policy

Family still waiting for answers months after innocent man killed during Fort Worth police chase
Family still waiting for answers months after innocent man killed during Fort Worth police chase 04:36

FORT WORTH - After being the lone Fort Worth councilmember to vote against a lawsuit aimed at keeping the police chase policy hidden, Councilmember Chris Nettles told the CBS News Texas I-Team that the city needs to prioritize transparency.

"I understand the police chief and why he does not want to release some of the policy. At the same time, I believe it's important that we be transparent in everything we do," Nettles explained.

Last week, the Fort Worth Police Department released a heavily redacted version of its chase policy. This move followed the city's legal battle with the Texas Attorney General's Office, which ruled that the policy must be disclosed to CBS News Texas and other media outlets under the state's open records laws.

Nettles advocates for a comprehensive rewrite of Fort Worth's chase policy, with the removal of any tactical information that could aid criminals. The police department has cited officer safety and effectiveness as reasons for not releasing the entire policy.

Once the policy is rewritten, Nettles insists that the new chase policy should be made fully public.

While most North Texas police departments, including Dallas police, already make their pursuit policies public, the I-Team managed to obtain the complete, unredacted vehicle pursuit policy used by the Fort Worth Police Department. This detailed policy outlines the circumstances under which officers can engage in a vehicle pursuit, information that was redacted in the version released to the public.

Questions still linger about a fatal July police chase

In July, Fort Worth Police officers were pursuing a reported stolen car when they collided with Andre Craig's vehicle, resulting in the death of the 57-year-old innocent bystander.

Nefertari Mundy, Craig's sister, told the I-Team in a November 2023 interview, "We are not talking about a suspect who was committing a crime. We are talking about an innocent person who was going about the business of their day, and in the process of that, he was killed."

Craig's family has been seeking answers from the Fort Worth police, particularly regarding whether the officers adhered to the department's pursuit policy. 

Police dash camera video from the chase has not been released and only a largely redacted version of the police report has been made public.

When the I-Team requested a log of all Fort Worth police chases in 2023, the department provided a list of more than 200 pursuits. However, the July 6th chase that resulted in Craig's death was absent from the documents. A police official told the I-Team that the department is actively investigating this omission.

Councilmember Nettles expressed concern, asserting that the city owes the Craig family and the community more answers about the July chase. 

He said, "I had a resident in my district die because of a police chase, and so I want answers. The community needs answers. If that policy was broken, then there are consequences that come with policy being broken. If policy was followed and we still lost a life, then policy needs to be changed."

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