Charges Dropped; Body Cam Video Fort Worth Arrest Released

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FORT WORTH (CBS11)A leaked police officer body cam video shows the officer’s perspective as Jacqueline Craig and her daughter were arrested after Craig called police in December.

She called because son had allegedly been choked by the neck after not picking up his litter in the neighbor’s yard.

The video emerged just hours before police announced all charges against the Craigs would be dropped and the officer would not have to appear in front of a grand jury on any charges.

“We actually see the excessive force which the Fort Worth Police Department found from Officer Martin,” said one of the family’s attorneys S. Lee Merritt.

The body cam video leaked to the public Thursday morning. Family attorneys said it clearly shows officer Martin using excessive force.

The video shows Jacqueline Craig and her daughter being arrested and shows the officer yelling, “Get in the car!” as the daughter screams at the officer.

At one point the officer apparently kicked the girl to get her legs in the car.

Also leaked is a service record apparently showed Martin had been investigated after by the department for possibly misusing a taser back in 2013.

A police spokesman confirmed there had been an incident that earned the officer verbal counseling from his immediate superior, but the incident didn’t appear to warrant any further action and would normally have been removed from someone’s record after six months.

Just hours after the video was leaked, police said charges against Craig were dropped.

They also said Officer Martin would not have his case taken to the grand jury.

Instead he would receive special training and a ten-day suspension which Martin is appealing.

The neighbor was given a citation for assault by contact.

“And that is what has me, frankly, infuriated?” said Jasmine Crockett, an attorney for Craig. “Because they decided to charge the neighbor with assault by contact. And to put that in context, assault by contact is nothing more than a class C ticket. It’s what you get for speeding down the highway.”

The attorneys say the 8-year-old boy suffered pain from the incident for days after the neighbor allegedly grabbed him.

Craig’s attorneys said they’ll ask the DA’s office to review Officer Martin’s case again. If it doesn’t, they said they plan to file a federal suit.

“He did his ten-day suspension, he’s going through rigorous re-training and we’re not going to retroactively, unless we found something new, investigate anything else related to this offense,” said Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

Initial plans to put Officer Martin back on the beat in the same neighborhood have been scrapped for safety reasons.

“There’s other police officers that are being approached and asked if they are Officer Martin,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t wanna put any officers in bad situations that we have here bc by and large 99% of our guys to a fantastic job out there.”

Mayor Betsy Price backed the department’s decisions on charges and discipline.  She released the following statement:

“We stand in support of the Chief’s decision to handle this case at the city level. This is the most appropriate avenue to address the charges in the Dec 21 Rock Garden Trail incident. I am committed to the restorative process needed to heal any breach of trust in our community. We continue to support the work of our excellent Fort Worth officers, who are tasked with so much in their roles to serve and protect our citizens. We know that healing takes time and compassionate efforts. But, as we learn from this incident, I trust that our community will grow to be even stronger.”

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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