Video of a Fort Worth police officer arresting woman who had called to report that a neighbor had choked her young son went viral in December, leading to an internal investigation and the officer’s suspension. Fort Worth PD released a statement saying that all charges against a black woman and her two daughters, arrested at the same time, have been dropped, that the white officer involved in the incident has been disciplined and reassigned to a different area, and the white neighbor has been issued a citation.
Jacqueline Craig called police on Dec. 22 after her 7-year-old son told her a neighbor had choked him after he dropped some paper in or near the man’s yard. In the video, filmed by an onlooker and posted to Facebook, Craig is shown telling Officer Martin that the man, now identified as Itamar Vardi, had choked her son for “defying him,” and that the man had no right to lay hands on her son over littering.
Officer Martin, instead of addressing Vardi regarding the assault, asked Craig why she thought Vardi had no right to lay hands on her son and then questioned her parenting, asking why she didn’t teach her son not to litter. As Craig becomes more and more angry and the officer becomes more and more condescending, one of Craig’s daughters moves in to try and calm her mother while a second daughter yells and curses at the officer. Martin then arrested Craig and her daughters without ever addressing the assault on her son.
The statement today said:
“The Fort Worth Police Department has worked to build a strong national reputation as a leader in community policing, service, compassion, and professionalism. We regard ourselves as a procedurally just organization and will better demonstrate its tenets—both internally and externally.
“We have consulted with the District Attorney’s office and we have decided to withdraw all matters related to the arrest of Ms. Jacqueline Craig, and Ms. Brea Hymond. Mr. Itamar Vardi has been issued a citation for Assault by Contact as a result of his actions in the initial incident.
“Officer Martin has been disciplined with a ten-day suspension with no pay, and Chief Fitzgerald will not be returning him to his original assignment in the Rock Garden neighborhood at this time. Officer Martin has chosen to exercise his right to appeal this disciplinary action and a hearing will be set for a later date.
“The Police Department recognizes we must work to repair the fractured relationships in our community. We are committed to ensuring all Fort Worth Police officers live up to restoring the trust you have lost in our department.”