FW police: Video is evidence that officer was in danger

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on March 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 2 at 11:48 PM

FORT WORTH — Fort Worth police want you to view a newly-released surveillance video closely.

They say it backs up what an officer's has said all along — that he shot and killed a man Monday night in self-defense.

The video begins with Charal Thomas's black SUV being pulled over by a white police van. Thomas was suspected of transporting drugs.

Fifteen minutes later, Officer Sean Romer returns to the the SUV and it speeds away; his arm trapped inside after Thomas allegedly rolled up the window on it.

When Romer got his arm free, the SUV was accelerating toward Loop 830. The officer said he shot Thomas to stop the SUV and save his own life.

News 8 showed the video to Thomas' stepbrother and Rev. Randolph Shaheed, who helped organize a police shooting protest Tuesday night.

Shaheed remains critical of Officer Romer's actions, but says some fellow ministers are apparently swayed by the video evidence.

"They're just saying, if I stuck my arm inside of a car, and a guy sped off, I'm going to try to protect myself," Shaheed said.

Three children and another passenger were also in the car when the shooting happened. They were unhurt.

Despite the presence of the youngsters, police suspected Thomas of transporting drugs. He pulled away before they could find out.

Fort Worth police Chief Jeff Halstead met with community ministers on Wednesday morning to brief them about the investigation.

"We're challenged right now, and the ministers will do everything they can to assist us in moving this incident forward," Halstead said. "I think that's a good blessing for the city."

Fort Worth police will search Thomas' SUV on Thursday to see if there are drugs in it.

The shooting will be presented to a grand jury when the police investigation is completed.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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