FORT WORTH -- A white Texas police officer has been suspended without pay for 10 days, but will not be fired, after an internal investigation of a cellphone video in which he is seen wrestling a black mother and her daughter to the ground and arresting them.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced the discipline at a news conference Monday and identified the officer involved as William Martin. The case will also go before a grand jury, Fitzgerald said Monday.
The incident happened last month after Jacqueline Craig told police that a neighbor choked her 7-year-old son for littering. In the video, which was viewed millions of times on Facebook, the officer forces Craig and her teen daughter to the ground. He thrusts a stun gun into Craig’s back and appears to point the stun gun at the teen.
Craig and her daughters were arrested and still face a number of charges including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, reports CBS DFW.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, family attorneys said Craig is dismayed over the chief’s decision.
“She was in a state of disbelief when I first told her,” family attorney Lee Merritt said. “She had a very hard time reconciling what happened to her with this kind of result.”
Merritt said the suspension amounted to a “vacation” and called for the officer to be fired and charged criminally with assault. Merritt said he would defend the family against the “false charges” and said he’s prepared to pursue a civil rights claim in federal court.
The officer ignored Craig’s claim that her son was assaulted, Merritt said, also calling for the neighbor to be charged.
Fitzgerald said the officer violated policy. He described the suspension as a “significant” punishment, and said the officer is “contrite, he is ready to get back to work, and he is very sorry for what has transpired.”
“I’ve challenged him, as I’ve challenged many, and that was to get back into the neighborhood to re-establish some of the relationships we feel were damaged by what we saw on that video,” Fitzgerald said.
Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price described the incident as “isolated.”
“This is not indicative of the way Fort Worth officers do business,” she said.