The Dallas Morning News reports this morning that the newspaper has obtained disciplinary records for five of the seven Fort Worth police officers involved in the raid of the Rainbow Lounge on June 28. The city reportedly told the newspaper that it accidentally left out the records for the other two officers and will provide them soon.
Anyhow, the big news from these records is that one of the officers involved in the raid, 32-year-old Jason R. Ricks, was arrested on an assault charge in 2006 for allegedly punching a bus driver in the face in New Braunfels while off duty. The charges were eventually dropped, and Ricks ended up receiving a 16-day suspension, but one of Ricks’ supervisors at the time, Capt. W.A. Read, wrote that Ricks had “shown a history of poor decisions and bad judgment.”
“I have to ask myself, when will this officer mature to the level that is required of him and can we afford to allow him to keep making bad decisions that can affect the department and the community,” Read wrote. He added that a lieutenant “has put forth a valid argument that Officer Ricks does not show the maturity level that is required of a Fort Worth police officer.”
UPDATE: Just got a chance to take a look at The Star-Telegram’s report today, which provides additional details on Ricks’ arrest for public intoxication and assault causing bodily injury in 2006. Apparently the incident occurred while Ricks was on a tubing trip on the Comal River. Ricks, who’d been drinking, got into a verbal altercation with a woman who’d cut into the bus line. When the driver intervened, Ricks clocked him. The S-T suggests it’s unlikely Ricks was involved in misconduct at the Rainbow Lounge because he was guarding suspects in a police van while other officers went into the bar, but I disagree. First, the whole raid itself appears to have been one big example of misconduct, so all of the officers are responsible to some degree. Also, in case you hadn’t heard, one of the “suspects” sustained a serious brain injury at some point, and we still don’t know when that happened. The S-T notes that Ricks had been suspended earlier in 2006 for failing to call a supervisor after using a Taser on three suspects. And speaking of Tasers, Fort Worth Weekly has an interesting story this week which sure seems to suggest we may be witnessing a pattern here involving excessive force, minorities and FW police. Go figure.