FORT WORTH - Officer Daniel Segura was being bombarded with worries from the Spanish-speaking community, so he took to social media to quell fears with a message that all victims of crime will be protected by Fort Worth police regardless of their immigration status.
“If you are a victim of a crime, we don’t care about your immigration status — you have the same rights as anyone else who lives in Fort Worth. We are going to defend you. We are going to protect you,” Segura said in Spanish during a nearly six-minute-long video called “Calma amigos! (Calm down, friends)” he posted on his Facebook page Wednesday. As of Thursday evening, it had received more than one million views.
Segura said in an interview with the Star-Telegram that he was getting “constant” messages from worried residents.
Police departments need to better inform the public about how cases involving immigrants are handled, he said.
Segura also says, "In the City of Fort Worth, for many, many years, we have not enforced immigration laws. We are not federal officer who enforce immigration laws, I want to make this very clear."
That part of the message came as a surprise to city officials.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price did not endorse Segura's video as a statement on behalf of the city or its police department.
“Fort Worth follows federal immigration laws and is unequivocally not a sanctuary city," she said. "The video posted by Officer Segura was not an official statement approved by the City of Fort Worth nor the Fort Worth Police Department.”
The police department released a statement as well, saying Segura's video was only to address citizen concerns and not to "represent the views of the City of Fort Worth on immigration or compliance with immigration policies."
"The Fort Worth Police Department enforces all laws, protects all its citizens, and is not a sanctuary city," Fort Worth PD's statement reads. "Officer Segura, a long time liaison to the Hispanic community of Fort Worth, addressed citizen concerns regarding fear among some of our residents of being possibly targeted by the police. Officer Segura released a video on Facebook to calm and better inform those who had concerns."
Local immigration attorney Francisco Hernandez said a lot of folks in Fort Worth's Hispanic community had seen the video. He likes the message.
"It's policing the community, keeping them safe and doing their job," says Hernandez. "What we want to do is avoid mistakes and not have people afraid to call the police."
News 8's Todd Unger contributed to this report.
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