Posted 3:25 PM, December 23, 2016, by Tribune Media Wire
FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth police placed an officer on restricted duty Thursday after a Facebook video showed him arresting a woman who’d called police to complain that a neighbor had allegedly assaulted her young son.
Police say they’re conducting an internal investigation of the incident, which also resulted in the woman’s two teenage daughters being taken into custody. The man the woman accused of assaulting her son was not arrested, although police say they’ve taken a report and are investigating.
“We acknowledge that the initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions,” a department statement said. “We ask that our investigators are given the time and opportunity to thoroughly examine the incident and to submit their findings.”
The video shot in a residential neighborhood on Wednesday starts with the uniformed officer talking to a man standing on a sidewalk.
The officer approaches a woman identified as Jacqueline Craig, who tells the officer her young son complained the man, a neighbor, had grabbed and choked him. The man said the boy had thrown litter on the ground, Craig said.
“Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” the officer asks Craig.
“He can’t prove to me that my son littered,” Craig replied. “But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him.”
“Why not?” the officer said.
The video showed the argument escalating. The officer wrestled Craig and her daughter to the pavement and handcuffed them. He pulled out a stun gun but it was unclear if he used it.
The officer placed those two females into a squad car. Someone screamed, “I just recorded everything!” but it’s not clear if that was the camera operator. The officer moved toward the camera and said, “OK, you’re going to jail, too.” The video shook and stopped.
Warning: Video may not be appropriate for all audiences
The video was shot by Craig’s daughter, Brea Hymond, said Jasmine Crockett, a family lawyer. It was uploaded to social media by a relative. Crockett acknowledged they had a longer video of the incident but said they wouldn’t release it at this time.
Officer: No comment
The police department has not released the name of the officer and said he declines comment on the incident.
“Since this is an internal investigation, state law limits the information that may be released, including the officer’s body cam footage,” the department said.
Craig, 46, and Hymond, 19, were charged with resisting arrest, search or transport and interfering with public duties, Crocket said. They were released from jail Thursday.
Craig’s 15-year-old daughter was also taken into custody but was released to an older sister, Crockett said. Her name is not being released because she’s a minor.
Crockett said the man who allegedly assaulted the little boy lives two doors down from Craig.
He and the officer are white, Crockett said. Craig and her daughters are black.
Crockett said it all started when Craig’s children came home from school crying and saying a man had choked their little brother. Crockett said Craig went to the neighbor and asked why he had not talked to her about the problem.
The man replied that he felt justified assaulting the boy because he littered in his yard, Craig said, according to Crockett.
“It was disturbing that the officer chose to ignore the assaultive act,” Crockett said. “The officer instead wanted to ask her about her mothering skills.”
Craig told CNN she didn’t want to talk about the incident but expressed thanks to people who watched the video and showed support.
“I just want to thank God right now,” Craig said.
‘Worst piece of police work’
Cedric Alexander, a municipal director of public safety in Georgia who was not involved in the Fort Worth case, watched the video Thursday evening and called the incident “the worst piece of police work I have ever seen.”
Alexander said there is a “whole lot of protocol that is wrong” in the arrest, such as the officer not having backup at the scene. It’s “very dangerous” for officers to make arrests by themselves, Alexander said.
“He instigated that whole incident by being condescending to the woman about her son,” Alexander said. “You can see it in his his posture and in his tone. That’s what the people in the video are very sensitive to.”