DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Two Fort Worth police chiefs — one current and one former — sat opposite from each other in a Dallas court room Monday.
Former Chief Joel Fitzgerald sat quietly behind his attorneys, while current Interim Chief Ed Kraus folded his arms on the witness stand, appearing frustrated as questions dragged on from attorneys about his knowledge of events surrounding his predecessor’s firing.
The questioning came during the first day of a hearing on whether an injunction will stay in place to prevent Fort Worth from hiring a permanent replacement for Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is seeking the injunction as he pursues a lawsuit contending he was fired in May primarily as a result of investigating and reporting security violations of the city’s management of the criminal justice information system.
While city attorneys sought to keep testimony and questioning to that narrow determination on the injunction, Judge Gena Slaughter allowed for a wide range of testimony, that touched on everything from cyber security to racial injustice.
City mayor Betsy Price testified late in the day Monday. Fitzgerald’s attorney Stephen Kennedy pressed her on when she had lost trust in Fitzgerald’s leadership, something that was mentioned in his termination letter.
He suggested campaign support from police union personnel may have played a part, along with Fitzgerald’s suggestion that the mayor’s security detail be cut back to save money.
Price however said she felt the former chief’s performance had waned over time, and that he was not specifically focused on the city when he was fired.
City manager David Cooke and assistant manager Jay Chapa are also expected to testify when the hearing continues Tuesday.