2 TX Pol Commanders Stripped of Duties in Investigation of Leaked Body
Two high-ranking Texas police officers were stripped of their command duties as the department investigates who leaked a body cam video showing a cop arresting a black woman and her daughter after they had called police for help.
Fort Worth Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen and Deputy Chief Vance Keyes were “temporarily replaced in their positions,” according to NBC-DFW.
The department has not said they are suspected of leaking the video, but both men have been questioned about it and have retained criminal-defense lawyers.
The body cam footage was leaked in January, one month after another video recorded by the mother’s daughter went viral, which lead to a ten-day suspension for Fort Worth police officer William Martin.
Martin, who was accused of being racist, claimed the arrests were motivated by his disdain for littering, not black people.
“Littering is kind of one of my pet peeves,” Martin told internal affairs investigators according to NBC-DFW.
The incident took place on December 21, 2016 when the white man, Itamar Vardi, called police to complain that somebody had littered his yard and that a group of people were refusing to leave.
Craig called 911 moments later to complain that Vardi had choked her 7-year-old son for littering.
Her daughter’s video show that one point, a black man pulled up in a car to confront Vardi about choking the boy, but Craig ordered him away, confident that police were on their way and would handle it appropriately.
But things went sour when Martin arrived because he became more upset with the boy littering than the boy getting choked.
“Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” Martin asked Craig after she explained what had taken place.
“It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” Craig responded.
“Why not?” the cop responded.
Craig became agitated at the cop’s insensitivity and asked, “Why are you yelling at me?”
But that just led to Martin escalating the situation with threats.
“If you keep yelling at me, you’re going to piss me off, i’m going to take you to jail,” he continued.
That prompted Craig’s 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, to stand between the cop and her mother in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
But that only led to Martin escalating the situation even more by grabbing both the mom and daughter to arrest them.
Craig’s 15-year-old daughter was live streaming the incident, so the video had already gone viral on Facebook by the time they were released from jail.
Charges of interference with public duty, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failing to provide identification were later dismissed against the two women.
Vardi was never jailed but issued a citation for misdemeanor assault and has since pleaded not guilty.
The videos outraged the community who accused the Fort Worth Police Department of covering up for a racist officer who knowingly allowed a white man to choke a black child for littering.
But Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, who is black, said the man never choked the boy, just merely grabbed the boy by the shoulder, which is still assault.
But there is no video evidence to prove or disprove the chief’s claim.
Meanwhile, Martin is appealing his suspension.