DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth’s former police chief said in court Tuesday that he intends to be the chief in the city again.
Joel Fitzgerald said no amount of money could repair the damage to his reputation after he was fired in May of this year. Instead, he said he wants an apology from the city, the truth over his firing, and to return to his job.
Fitzgerald took the witness stand in a hearing that is part of his civil suit against the city over his firing.
Fitzgerald’s attorneys are trying to convince a judge to prevent the city from filling the chief’s position until his suit can be resolved.
“I had not had a blemish,” Fitzgerald said, when asked about the damage the firing had done to his career. “I don’t have blemishes on my record at all until I stepped in this room and I get this termination memo. And this is broadcast to the media, recklessly, and again it’s something that I can’t be made whole with unless I’m reinstated as the police chief of Fort Worth and I’m fighting for that.
Fitzgerald said he had turned down a separation offer in the neighborhood of $250,000 before he was fired.
Accepting the money would have required him to sign a document, that he said city manager would now allow him to have his attorney review. He said city marshal removed him from city property when he refused to sign the paper.
He testified he believed the city’s decision to give him a general discharge after his firing, as opposed to an honorable discharge, has kept him from getting a new job.
He said he has applied for 105 jobs since then, without success, and had previous references tell him they can no longer recommend him because of the issue.
In the beginning of his testimony, Fitzgerald said he believed he was fired for exposing problems with the security of the federal criminal information system police use.
Ed Kraus has been working as the chief, in an interim capacity, since Fitzgerald was fired.
Kraus and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price both testified in the hearing Monday, on what they knew leading up to the city manager’s decision to fire Fitzgerald.