Halstead fires officer for using excessive force following chase

Decision comes less than a week after chief pledges ‘zero tolerance’ for officers that disrespect citizens

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

W. A. Featherstone
W. A. Featherstone

Less than a week after Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead told a roomful of citizens gathered for a FWPD Diversity Forum that he has “zero tolerance for anyone being disrespected,” Halstead has fired an officer for using excessive force.

According to a statement released late Thursday afternoon, Sept. 2, Halstead issued an “indefinite suspension” — or termination — to Officer W.A. Featherstone for his actions following traffic stop this past spring.

Featherstone was fired effective Wednesday, Sept. 1.

According to a letter Halstead filed with the Civil  Service Commission on Thursday, the incident began shortly before 4 a.m on March 14, when a woman was stopped by police in the 800 block of West Berry Street after leading officers on a 22-mile chase.

According to the documents filed by Halstead, the woman had stopped, gotten out of her car and was walking backwards toward the patrol cars, with her hands above her head, when Featherstone grabbed her arm, intentionally tripped her and threw her face down on the ground.

Halstead’s letter said Featherstone then hit the woman several times with his left hand and his right knee, leaving her with bruises, a bloody nose and broken teeth.

The statement released to the press indicated that Featherstone had not been part of the pursuit of the woman and that he was not authorized to be at the scene when she finally stopped on Berry Street.

The statement also said that the incident had been videotaped by cameras in the police department’s helicopter, which was on the scene at the time of the incident.

The press release included a quote from Halstead, who said, “We have the greatest police officers in the country.

“However, as I’ve said many times before, if any employee engages in physically abusive conduct towards our citizens, we will find them and I will fire them.”

Featherstone, 29, was commissioned as a Fort Worth police officer on Sept. 26, 2008, and had been on the force for almost two years when he was fired.

An attorney representing Featherstone in the matter told the Fort Worth Star Telegram he would appeal the chief’s decision.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

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