FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth officer at the center of an arrest that went viral will take the stand in his own defense tomorrow.
Fort Worth Police Officer William Martin is appealing his ten-day suspension in hopes of getting paid for that time and clearing his name. His lawyer told CBS11 Martin will make the case he followed police protocol and push back against allegations race had anything to do with this arrest.
Martin was suspended for ten days without pay after the December 21 arrest for Fort Worth mother, Jacqueline Craig, and her daughter. Craig called police for help, believing her 7-year-old son had been choked by a man in the neighborhood for littering.
“Why don’t you teach your son not to litter,” Martin asked Craig in video of the arrest.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said the officer’s first priority should have been the child, not mouthing off to Ms. Craig. Chief Fitzgerald said the officer was justified in arresting the mom after things turned physical, but not the use of force the officer used while taking Craig’s daughter into custody.
“That does not stop me from looking at the actions that I believe were not consistent with what our department stands for, and I believe 99-percent of our police department would not engage in activity like that,” said Chief Fitzgerald.
The police chief said his chain of command recommended no punishment and a five day suspension as alternative punishments for Officer Martin, but he decided to double it.
Tomorrow, Officer Martin is expected to testify, making the case that he did follow police protocol.
“He’s never had the opportunity to come out and tell his side of the story,” said his attorney Terry Dafaron. “I think what we’ve seen thus far is a one-sided view from the city.”
The chief says if he had to do it all over again, he would give the officer a 15-day suspension for pulling on Craig’s daughter’s arm, causing her pain, during the arrest.