The white Texas police officer who wrestled a black mother and her daughter to the ground last month has been suspended without pay for 10 days after an internal investigation of a cellphone video of the incident.
Officer William Martin will not be fired though, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced at a news conference Monday, reports CBS DFW. Many have criticized Fitzgerald for what appears to be a light punishment.
“Looking at everything that we looked at we determined that there were violations,” Fitzgerald said. “There were violations… neglect of duty would be one violation, discourtesy, we felt like there was some inappropriate contact that he had with two of the females.”
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The incident occurred last month when Jacqueline Craig called police after accusing a neighbor of choking her seven-year-old son for littering. At some point the officer asked her why she didn’t teach her son not to litter, and an argument escalated. In the video, which went viral on Facebook, officer Martin forces Craig and her teen daughter to the ground, then uses a stun gun against Craig.
Though Fitzgerald called the administrative actions “significant”, the family’s lawyer disagreed, the Huffington Post reports: “It sends a message out to the entire community of Fort Worth that it’s okay to assault children if they’re young black boys,” attorney Lee Merritt told The Huffington Post. “It undermines the safety of the officers of Forth Worth because it erodes the trust within the community.”
Craig and her daughter were arrested and still face a number of charges including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.