Local law enforcement opted out of coming to a forum held by TCU Students for Liberty Wednesday night about police militarization and the unrest in Ferguson.
The event called “Don’t shoot!: Police Militarization, Civil Liberties, and Ferguson” was held in the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium.
Organizers said representatives from TCU police as well as the Fort Worth Police Department were invited to join Satinder Singh, a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union, and Jacob Sullum, senior editor of Reason magazine.
Justin Loar, president of TCU Students for Liberty, said they wanted to talk about “rampant police militarization” over the last 30 years with a primary emphasis on Ferguson.
About 50 students, faculty and other people from the outside community attended the event. Bud Kennedy of the Star Telegram was also in attendance, as was a group from the University of North Texas.
Neither the Fort Worth nor TCU Police Department made an appearance at the event.
Jacob Sullum, senior editor for Reason magazine said he was disappointed that the police didn’t attend.
“I was looking forward to it. I wanted to hear their take on bad police procedures in Ferguson and on drug laws,” Sullum said.
Students for Liberty Vice President Kendall Richey said she reached out to TCU police and a Fort Worth officer.
“We wanted to make it look not so unbalanced so that is why I decided to invite TCU and Fort Worth police,” said Kendall Richey, vice president of TCU Students for Liberty.
“I have spoken with the lieutenant of the TCU department and the officer who is in charge of the community out reach in Fort Worth and I specifically wrote in my email we want you there and want to hear your opinion,” Richey said. “We wanted as balanced of a panel as possible.”
“They think we are trying to ambush them but we really aren’t,” said Richey.
Despite the one sided panel many students contributed their thoughts and opinions during the question and answer portion of the event.
“Education above all else is our main goal,” Loar said. “We are not political like some other groups on campus might be, we merely want to start these conversations where we don’t see them happening and to get people to really grapple these ideas.”
This was TCU Students for Liberty first big event this semester since changing their name from Young Americans for Liberty in August.
“This is going to be our first major event to try and get our brand out on campus and in the future we are working on other events that we can do for the next two months,” said Loar. “The goal is to work with Students for Liberty Texas region to get as many resources here as we can to have monthly events.”
TCU Students for Liberty currently meets on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Scharbauer Hall 4002. Loar said as of right now they have 30 members but anyone is more than welcome to join.