The Leadership Conference Joins Independent Review of Fort Worth Police Department

Media 11.20,19


Atatiana Jefferson and five other officer-involved shootings have taken place in the city since June 2019

Contact: LaGloria Wheatfall, [email protected], 202.548.7160

WASHINGTON – Lynda Garcia, policing campaign director of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on her appointment to the Fort Worth, Texas police department review panel:

“The Leadership Conference is honored to work with our esteemed colleagues on behalf of the communities in Fort Worth impacted by police violence. The killing of Atatiana Jefferson in her home by a Fort Worth police officer and the five other fatal-officer involved shootings since June 2019 have left the local communities in immeasurable pain. A rigorous, independent review of the department’s policies and practices will lead to recommendations that align with national best practices and take steps to repair the breakdown in community trust. We commend the city and the police department for securing the independent review, which is critical to ensuring accountability, transparency, fairness, and justice. We look forward to working with the police department and community members to advance policing practices that respect people’s humanity and ensure safety for all.”

The independent review panel will be led by Dr. Theron L. Bowman, former Arlington police chief, and Dr. Alex del Carmen, associate dean of Tarleton State University’s criminology school. In addition to Garcia, the other panel members are:

  • Emily Gunston, deputy legal director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division deputy chief
  • Tom Petroski, visiting professor at Tarleton State University and former FBI Dallas Chief Legal Counsel
  • Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and former U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division section chief
  • Marcia Thompson, law enforcement and civil rights attorney and vice president of Hillard Heintze’s law enforcement division
  • Rita Watkins, executive director of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas

The Leadership Conference will be donating the consultancy fees it receives from the city to local organizations that provide community services that advance public safety.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit