“Where do we go from here” will be what is 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 Dec. 2 Michael Dean shooting, which happened almost six weeks ago.
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. No one has released any information about why Officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, fired the shot that killed 28-year-old Dean, what led up to the shooting or how events played out afterward.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Bryan Washko said there was no information to release Monday by the Texas Rangers.
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, 28, died near Southwest HK Dodgen Loop and Little River Road.
DeCruz remained Monday on paid administrative leave while the Texas Ranger investigation continues.
The meeting’s purpose
The meeting is a response to “racial disparities and tension in Temple,” a flyer said.
Panelists will include Davis, Temple NAACP President Bennie Walsh, Temple Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Lisa Adams and Executive Director of the Un-Included Club Doree Collins.
Moderating the meeting will be Pastor Charles Robinson, and Wil White is the event’s organizer.
The meeting, scheduled from 5-7 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 marches and protests have been peaceful and were aimed at getting answers.
The most recent protest was Monday afternoon at the Bell County Criminal Justice Center in Belton.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza didn’t respond Monday to a Telegram email that asked if he would attend the protest since his office is located inside the Justice Center.
Some Temple City Council members have expressed their opinions about the need for a crisis management plan for incidents like the Dean shooting.
“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.”