Protesters march through Fort Worth, demand action over fatal shooting
A group of protesters marched through downtown Fort Worth on Friday to demand charges be filed in the fatal shooting of Kevin Battle.
Battle, who was black, was fatally shot by his neighbor, Mark Jabben, on March 25, the Fort Worth police department has said.
About 30 protesters gathered outside City Hall at 5 p.m. Friday. Community activists and mayoral candidate Deborah Peoples addressed the group.
“If we don’t speak out, then justice will never be dealt with,” Peoples said. “So I’m out here, because we have to have justice for Kevin Battle.”
People wore shirts with Battle’s photo on them and others carried signs with sayings such as, “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Give Kevin Justice.”
“What the family is saying is is enough is enough,” said activist and community organizer Donnell Ballard. “(Jabben) needs to be charged. We demand this man be charged with murder.”
A voice message left for Jabben has not been returned.
The afternoon that Battle, 57, was shot, Battle’s family said Jabben called Battle’s grandson the N-word and Battle knocked on Jabben’s door to confront him.
“His grandson said, ‘Granddaddy, that man called me a (expletive) boy,’” said community activist Olinka Green. “Can you imagine? This 5-year-old, that’s the last thing he’ll remember.”
Battle’s son, Kevin Battle II, said he could see his father from inside the duplex but could not see Jabben.
Battle II said he heard the two talking and then heard gunshots.
Battle’s 5-year-old grandson was holding his hand when Jabben shot Battle twice in the head, his family said. Jabben told police Battle tried to force his way into Jabben’s house during the argument, prompting him to shoot the man, according to police.
Battle was not armed at the time.
“If I’m coming to jump on you, I’m not taking my 5-year-old,” Green said. “I’m coming to ask why you did this to my grandson. And he died right there. Shot him twice. But yet this person is still walking the streets. Fort Worth, those who stand in power, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”
The group marched in a rectangle around downtown, heading east down Houston Street, crossing through the Water Gardens, walking north on Commerce Street and turning west on Weatherford Street before stopping outside the Tarrant County Court building.
Fort Worth police officers escorted the protesters through the streets, blocking intersections to stop traffic for those who marched.
Candice Jones-Willis, Battle’s stepdaughter, said Fort Worth police should have arrested Jabben the first time he and Battle had an altercation.
Battle’s son, Kevin Battle II, said that a week before the shooting, Jabben called his father a racial slur. Battle II said a police report was made about the incident.
The Star-Telegram requested a copy of that police report and reports on any other incidents involving the neighbors, and a spokesperson from the department told the newspaper to make an open records request.
When the protesters stopped outside the Tarrant County Court building, several speakers addressed the crowd.
“Fort Worth PD, we need you to hear us,” Jones-Willis said on the courthouse steps. “We’re out here fighting for a reason. It’s unfair what happened to my stepfather — he was a great man. And we just want justice and want someone to answer for it. Mark Jabben, you in particular.”
Tina High, the widow of Carlos High, was also at the protest. Carlos High was shot and killed by Grand Prairie police in 2018 in a standoff with police.
Activists like Waymond Brown said Battle’s shooting refelcts a larger problem in Fort Worth and across the country.
Brown, who is running for city council for District 5, said city officials do not care about or act in the best interest of the black community in Fort Worth.
“We’re still dealing with the same issues in 2019 that we had in 1963,” he said. “It’s not only a problem with the current city leadership, it’s a systemic problem. This case is just an extension of that.”
Police said physical evidence corroborates Jabben’s self-defense claim. The case will be presented to a grand jury to determine whether Jabben should face any charges.