Tense moments tonight at the Gladewater Community Center, as angry residents asked city officials tough questions. At the heart of the matter, the fatal shooting of Johnathon King by Gladewater police officer Bryan Naismith. Based on a Texas Ranger's investigation, an Upshur County grand jury refused to indict Naismith for any wrongdoing in the shooting. Residents are upset he is still working for the department, and tonight, they were upset they were not getting more answers.
"I wish I could comment. I can't comment. I don't know anything about that," Gladewater Mayor John Paul Talent said.
It was the first, but certainly not the last time the dozens of Gladewater residents would hear that response from him.
One Gladewater resident said, "If nobody had seen the tape but the Texas Rangers, and nobody knew what happened untiil the Texas Ranger got his report out, why was this man still on duty for six months?"
"I'm sorry, I can't answer that. If you've ever been through a law suit or pending litigation, you cannot answer questions," Talent said.
Time and time again, John Paul Talent re-iterated he did not have any power over the investigation into the shooting last summer, or any control over the police department.
Gladewater resident Deborah Pike said, "They're killing our kids. They're beating up our kids, and the police are getting exonerated. That's what we're asking. What are you going to do about the police that are killing our kids?"
"I cannot answer that," Talent said.
Just before the meeting was over, a woman close to the victim in the shooting addressed city officials.
She said, "He had no reason to shoot him. None at all, and there ain't nothing you can do? You need to get off your butt, and do something with these police officer running around."
This meeting was called by Gladewater residents, not the city council. The mayor, mayor pro-tem, and one council member, said they came against the advice of the city lawyers. They said, in spite of the fact they couldn't answer many questions, they felt like they owed it to the people who voted for them.