Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced Monday, Jan. 9, that the officer who arrested three Black women who were defending a 7-year-old will serve only a 10-day suspension without pay.
Fitzgerald told media that the officer, identified as William Martin, felt sorry for what occurred last month but would like to get back to work as soon as possible.
“Looking at everything that we looked at, we determined that there were violations. There were violations,” Fitzgerald says. “Neglect of duty would be one violation. Discourtesy. We felt like there was some inappropriate contact that he had with two of the females.”
Video from the late December police encounter showed 46-year-old Jacqueline Craig and Officer Martin in a heated exchange in regards to her 7-year-old son. Craig reportedly called the cops after her white neighbor assaulted her son for littering near his property.
“My daughter and son came home, saying that this man grabbed him and choked him,” Craig says to the cop as her 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, records. “I came around here and asked him. I said, ‘Why did you put your hands on my son?’ He said, ‘Oh, he threw some paper and I told him to pick it up.’ He said he defied him and that’s why he did it. You don’t have the right to choke somebody’s son. My son is 7 years old. You don’t have the right to grab him and choke him.”
The video, posted on Facebook by Craig’s relative Porsha Craver, also showed Craig’s 15-year-old daughter attempting to calm down her mother after the officer questioned Craig’s parenting skills.
Within a matter of a minute, Craig was on the ground with Martin’s taser in her back. Craig’s 15-year-old daughter also was arrested, along with Hymond. The minor was released into the custody of a relative hours after the incident.
The victims, Hymond and Craig, still face charges ranging from resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to CBS Fort Worth.
While Fitzgerald offered new training to prevent incidents of this type, the women’s attorney, Lee Merritt, believes Martin’s suspension is a slap on the wrist.
“This officer was not a rookie officer,” Merritt says. “He does not need additional training. This officer was a veteran officer. He had all the training needed.”
— Fort Worth Police (@fortworthpd) December 27, 2016