In the wake of protests surrounding the arrests of a mother and her two daughters, Fort Worth Police Chief told members of the media Friday, Dec. 23, that the arrests were not an act of racism.
Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and other city officials at the news conference came out in support of the officer, while asking the community to remain clam and protest peacefully.
“I can’t call it racism, but I noticed in the video that the officer was rude,” Fitzgerald said. “There’s a difference between rude and racism.”
His comments came after the video of the arrest of Jacqueline Craig, 46, and her daughters went viral. Craig had called police after a white neighbor allegedly assaulted her son for littering around his property.
The Wednesday, Dec. 21, video, posted by family member Porsha Craver, showed Craig confronting a white police officer who seemingly dismissed her claims against the neighbor. In that footage, the unidentified officer questioned the woman’s parenting skills and insinuated that the neighbor had a right to choke her 7-year-old son.
“My daughter and son came home, saying that this man grabbed him and choked him,” Craig says to the cop as her daughter 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 footage shows a teen in a pink tank top, later revealed to be Craig’s 15-year-old daughter, come in between the officer and her mother. Then, the camera swiftly cuts to Craig on the ground with a taser in the middle of her back.
The officer arrested Craig, the teen and Craig’s other daughter, 19-year-old Brea Hymond, who filmed the incident.
As of last Thursday, the three were free on bond and the officer had been placed on restricted duty.
Fitzgerald reassured the victims that justice will be served and that there is an internal investigation ongoing.
“I was disappointed with the video and with some of the things I heard and saw,” Chief Fitzgerald said. “Although it disturbed me, it didn’t make me feel our Internal Affairs unit or anyone in the department won’t get to the bottom and provide justice for everyone involved.”