As the June 5 local runoff election approaches, as well as the anniversary of the tragic death of George Floyd, Fort Worth mayoral candidate Mattie Parker answered questions at a recent forum about enforcing the law and fighting crime.

At a May 19 event hosted by Fort Worth Republican Women, Parker, a former chief of staff for outgoing Mayor Betsy Price, was repeatedly asked about maintaining law and order in light of the nation approaching the first anniversary of Floyd’s death and subsequent riots.

“We all want the ability to peacefully protest,” Parker said, replying to a question from Texas Scorecard. “That is a core American value, but if you go beyond that … disrupting peace and disrupting business … that’s when I find you have to stand up and stop it immediately.”

“We quite literally were not on fire,” Parker said, comparing this city with others that experienced violent riots last summer. “We were on the verge of some of that here in Fort Worth but for the heroism of some of our police officers.”

I think if you give an inch, they take a mile.

“What’s our policy on supposedly [illegal immigrants] being here?” asked citizen Mary Runyan.

“Fort Worth Police Department and your sheriff’s office do a great job cooperating as law enforcement with immigration services,” Parker replied. “There are isolated incidents, of course, that don’t work. … [The] immigration system is very broken in Texas, in this country.”

We have a policy that you would expect: to cooperate when criminal activity happens as much as you can.

“We just had the fourth record year in a row of felony case filings,” Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder (R) said. “I hope that you will be a voice for [keeping] some of these repeat offenders locked up and that you let the police chief do his job.”

“As a resident, there’s something powerful about your chief taking charge and being there,” she said, alluding to politicians sometimes trying to interfere with the police doing their jobs.

Another citizen, Stephanie, brought up the threat of the international drug trade, relaying how her 16-year-old son tragically died last July from a pill he thought was Percocet but was “pure fentanyl.” She said the narcotic is “coming here illegally from China and Mexico.”

“Nobody investigated [the case] of my son,” Stephanie said.

“I’ll take back the feedback I’m getting to Fort Worth Police Department, because they need to understand that every incident should be investigated,” Parker replied. “There have been numerous—even high-profile—deaths across this country because of [drugs] being laced with fentanyl.”

When Parker’s opponent, Democrat Deborah Peoples, was asked about the city’s crime spike last year, Peoples expressed her support for the “defund police” movement. She’s also associated with the far-left activist group United Fort Worth, which also supports raiding taxpayer money from law enforcement to spend elsewhere.

Parker, who has been endorsed by the Texas Young Republicans, has said “defunding the police will not happen under my watch.”

Though Parker said there’s “work to do” in Fort Worth, she expressed her optimism for the city.

“I think we’re in a fantastic place,” she said. “I speak about hope and optimism about Fort Worth, because the other side sort of seems to have this feeling that we’re doom and gloom … that nothing good is happening here … and I just don’t agree.”

Voters will decide between Parker and Peoples in the June 5 runoff. Early voting runs from May 24 to June 1.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.