DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – During a break in testimony Wednesday in Dallas civil court, fired Fort Worth police chief Joel Fitzgerald caught sight of his former city managers and city attorneys conferring.
Fitzgerald checked to see if television cameras caught the moment. They were discussing testimony, he said.
Assistant city manager Jay Chapa denied it. Fitzgerald ignored him.
“You haven’t changed a bit,” he told the former chief, as they walked back into court.
Patience was wearing out on all sides, including from Judge Gena Slaughter as a hearing in Fitzgerald’s civil lawsuit against the city over his firing stretched out over an unscheduled third day.
Testimony was expected to conclude Wednesday night, with arguments scheduled for Thursday. Judge Slaughter could then issue an injunction keeping Fort Worth from permanently hiring a new police chief until the suit has run its course.
City managers were able to give their side of the employment dispute for the first time Wednesday.
Chapa denied knowing Fitzgerald was about to meet with the FBI over city cyber security violations, on the day he was fired.
“It was never reported to me that it was an open investigation,” he said. “Nobody in the department talked to me about it.”
He also discussed the aftermath of Fitzgerald becoming a finalist for a police commissioner job in Baltimore. He said when the former chief didn’t want to publicly comment on the report, it had a negative impact on the community and city leaders who had questions about what was going on.
Earlier in the day assistant police chief Julie Sweringen testified she was expecting to be in the meeting with the FBI with Fitzgerald on the day he was fired in May. After the termination though, she said she was never included in any future meetings on the cyber security issue.
Police officers association president Manny Ramirez also testified, primarily about a dust up at an event in Washington Fitzgerald had with union officials. Ramirez said he was shocked by the chief’s behavior at the time. He could not explain why other witnesses didn’t hear or see the same confrontation he did.
Fitzgerald testified Tuesday that a monetary judgment will do nothing to fix his reputation after his firing, and he intends to try to get his job back.