FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A police officer at the center of a controversial arrest that drew national attention, is appealing the Fort Worth Police Department’s decision not to keep him in line for promotions within the agency.
Officer William Martin has never returned to patrolling the streets in Fort Worth following his 2016 arrest of Jacqueline Craig.
An attorney argued in a hearing Wednesday however, that he should have received a promotion to Detective/Corporal, less than seven months after the incident.
The city maintains his actions make him unsuited for a position that involves supervisory and investigative duties.
The department suspended Martin for 10 days after the incident, citing his use of excessive force when he arrested Craig and her daughters. They had called for help for possible injury to a child by a neighbor.
Video of the incident went viral, sparking protests and public criticism that acting police chief Ed Kraus testified Wednesday still comes up regularly.
Kraus was not in on the decision to bypass Martin for a promotion. He testified in the hearing however that he would have come to the same conclusion.
“You watched the video,” he said. “It speaks for itself. But specifically, he used excessive force, was disrespectful, failed to investigate the call.”
Martin was on a list as being eligible for promotion in June of 2017. It wasn’t until November though, that the department promoted three other officers ahead of him.
Martin’s attorney repeatedly referenced case law that when a position is not filled within 60 days of opening, the next eligible employee automatically receives the spot. She also said Fitzgerald never had a personal conversation with Martin about the bypass, which city rules require.
City attorneys played an audio recording of a meeting where administrators read a letter to Martin, telling him he was being bypassed for the position. When asked if had anything to add to the record, he replied “nope.”
Martin said that before being suspended for 10 days, Fitzgerald offered him a 7-day suspension, with the possibility of future promotions, if he would agree to not appeal the punishment. He turned it down.
“The whole incident was yet to be presented to the grand jury, and I wasn’t going to admit to something I didn’t do, and have that be available for presentation to the grand jury,” he said.
He said he was later told that as long as Fitzgerald was with the department, he would not be going back to a patrol position.
Attorneys are expected to take another month to file briefs and closing statements before a hearing examiner makes a decision on Martin’s appeal.