The young Black man who police in Texas shot to death over the weekend was never given a chance to live, according to a new report citing witness accounts of the shooting. Residents in the Fort Worth neighborhood where JaQuavion Slaton was killed in a hail of as many as 10 shots had plenty of questions during a community meeting that demanded justice for the 20-year-old, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
To add insult to literal injury, the Fort Worth Police Department was not making body cam footage available immediately, and it was unclear if any even existed. Officers claimed Slaton had a gun but had not yet provided any proof of that, either.
Local media was already running with that narrative despite the absence of evidence backing up those claims.
Police said Slaton was a suspect in an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to a breaking news report after the shooting on Sunday afternoon. When cops saw him, along with two other men, a chase ensued and Slaton ended up hiding in a truck after the other two men were taken into custody. That’s when the cops got trigger-happy, according to one eye-witness.
The shooting took place in the back yard of Tamequa Muhammad, who told those in attendance Monday night at the meeting that the cops were reckless in their pursuit. She said the cops came out guns blazing without regard for her nearby grandchildren or other innocent bystanders. Her husband “said he does not feel police took his family or the community’s safety into consideration because they offered no warning,” according to the Star-Telegram. The couple also said police didn’t try to de-escalate the situation when they located Slaton in the truck, either.
“Even if the young man did something, still it didn’t warrant a death sentence,” Tamequa Muhammad said during the meeting.
The description of the shooting was fairly in line with other recent and older police shootings shrouded in suspicion over whether cops were being completely forthcoming. It was also another example of a police force betraying any trust the community may have had with it. That point was hammered home by a community organizer who attended Monday night’s meeting.
“Trust doesn’t come when you come and give ice cream cones to the kids. It doesn’t come when you do cute little videos on the internet,” said Pamela Young, who criticized the city’s citizen review board that was put in place instead of a community oversight plan that would not be monitored by police. “It comes when you have transparency; when you have accountability. And that’s the difference between what we’re proposing and what the city is proposing.”