COMMERCE (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas police chief has resigned after arresting a former beauty pageant queen. The announcement was made at a public meeting in the City of Commerce on Monday night.
Supporters of Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews packed the room, during which the City showed four videos of the May 20 arrest. What was presented during the meeting included surveillance, cell phone and police body camera video footage.
Chief Crews didn’t attend the meeting. After the videos were shown, Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams read a statement on Crew’s behalf and said, “I do not feel that I can continue to bear the weight of the police chief position.”
Commerce City Manager Darrek Ferrell says the decision for Crews to step down was a joint one by the City and Crews and was largely made as a result of the videos that chronicle the May arrest of former Miss Black Texas Carmen Ponder.
The day of the arrest, Ponder has a traffic-related dispute with a driver before pulling into the Walmart parking lot in Commerce. That driver, who turned out to be a local school board member, saw Chief Crews in the parking lot and asked him to intervene.
Video shows Crews confronted Ponder as she was leaving the store. Ponder says she didn’t realize Crews was an officer, since he was out of uniform and off-duty. She called 911 to request help. When officers arrived Ponder was arrested Ponder on charges of evading arrest. The charges were later dropped.
“As a result of being off-duty, I was unprepared for the response I received from Ms. Ponder, and I became emotional,” reads Crews’ statement. “It had nothing to do with her race or gender or anything other than what I felt was her disrespect of my position as an officer and as the police chief.”
City Manager Ferrell wouldn’t tell CBS 11 News if Crews was disciplined in any way for Ponder’s arrest. Crews will have a new job with the city as an assistant to the city manager and might end up making more money in his new position.
Carmen Ponder also attended the hearing. She said she was relieved Crews would no longer head the police department after what she perceives to be his abuse of power. “If you’re not in jail for a crime, if you’re there to get back at someone or anything like that, it’s just wrong,” she said.
Ponder says the possibility of a civil lawsuit against the city is still on the table.