The Texas police officer who was caught on camera assaulting a Black mother and her teen daughter has been suspended.
In the viral video clip that quickly resulted in outrage across the country, 49-year-old mother Jacqueline Craig is seen speaking with Forth Worth police Officer William A. Martin about an incident in which she said her neighbor choked her 7-year-old son. Martin was called to the scene by Craig, who asked for help after learning of the encounter between her son and her neighbor.
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The conversation between Craig and Officer Martin quickly escalated after Martin attempted to insinuate that her son being choked for allegedly throwing paper on the ground near the neighbor’s yard was somehow a result of her bad parenting. Officer Martin is eventually seen attempting to arrest Craig, while also pushing her 15-year-old daughter to the ground when she tries to intervene on her mother’s behalf.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Martin’s actions as seen in the video footage violated departmental policy that discourages “discourtesy and inappropriate contact.”
“Quite frankly, Officer Martin felt that he let me down,” Fitzgerald said, according to The Huffington Post. “We want to reassure members of the public that this is an isolated incident.” Martin has reportedly been suspended for 10 days without pay, however, family members of Jacqueline Craig say the punishment is not nearly sufficient enough.
“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,” Craig family 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.”
Tarrant County is reportedly conducting a separate investigation into the incident to determine whether or not to pursue criminal charges against Officer Martin. Chief Fitzgerald declined to comment on the status of that investigation.