“Where do we go from here” will be discussed Saturday evening at a Temple town hall meeting.
The purpose of the forum, in the planning stages since before Thanksgiving, is to get some community leaders together to answers any questions the public may have. The questions will go through the moderator.
Temple Mayor Tim Davis said the meeting was planned before the shooting death of Michael Dean, which happened almost six weeks ago.
The meeting is a response to “racial disparities and tension in Temple,” a flyer said.
No answers have been given by the Texas Rangers or Temple Police Department to questions about why Dean was shot in the head and killed as he sat in his car Dec. 2, 2019. Information has not been revealed about what led up to Officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, firing the shot that killed 28-year-old Dean or how events played out afterward.
Report to AG
A report filed recently with the Texas Attorney General’s office said Dean “did not carry, exhibit or use a deadly weapon.” The report was filled out by Temple police investigator Robert Mallett.
The shooting happened during a traffic stop, the report said.
Dean died near Southwest HK Dodgen Loop and Little River Road.
DeCruz remained Monday on paid administrative leave while the Texas Ranger investigation continues.
Panelists for Saturday’s meeting will include Davis, Temple NAACP President Bennie Walsh, Temple Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Lisa Adams and Un-Included Club Executive Director Doree Collins.
Moderating the meeting will be Pastor Charles Robinson, and Wil White is the event’s organizer.
The meeting, scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m., will be at St. James United Methodist Church, 707 S. Third St.
Walsh was asked to be a panel member and doesn’t know what path the meeting will take, he said. He did say Dean’s family has been given “nothing at all” in the way of information about Dean’s shooting.
Robinson couldn’t be reached for comment by press time Monday.
Several peaceful marches and protests have been aimed at getting answers.
The most recent protest was Monday afternoon at the Bell County Criminal Justice Center in Belton.
Some Temple City Council members have expressed their opinions about the need for a crisis management plan — something that was on the city agenda before the Dean shooting — for incidents like it.
“We may feel that we haven’t responded fast enough. I would have liked to express something from the city immediately that we are sorry to the Dean family and to the police officer’s family,” Councilwoman Susan Long previously said.
Davis said no one is covering up anything.
“If we’ve made an error in the release of information, then that will be fixed and we’ll do it correctly next time,” Davis said.
The city of Temple has heard nothing from the Rangers on the Michael Dean shooting, he said.
“It’s frustrating. The people are demanding answers from the city of Temple because it was an officer that pulled the trigger,” Davis said. “But the Rangers were on the scene within two hours of the shooting, and they’ve had it (the case) ever since. None of us have seen the video of the shooting.”