FORT WORTH, TX – Stories are swirling about some alleged internal drama involving top administrators at Fort Worth Police Department.
The alleged controversy is connected to the investigation of a leaked video of an officer’s controversial arrest of a mother and her two daughters that initially went viral in December 2016.
Sources say Fort Worth Police Department’s Assistant Police Chief, Abdul Pridgen, is using vacation time and is allegedly under internal investigation behind that leaked body camera footage.
Pridgen’s lawyer, Peter Schulte, says the Assistant Chief did not release the video.
The body camera video shows Officer William Martin’s actions while arresting Jacqueline Craig and her two teenage daughters. The body camera version was leaked and went viral late January 2017, and it has been at the center of an internal police department probe.
Sources say Assistant Chief Pridgen took a sudden vacation a few weeks ago. Officers say no one knew where he went and is being strongly encouraged to file retirement papers.
Pridgen was a finalist for the Police Chief job, last year, but he was passed over. The city ultimately gave the position to current Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
Aside from Pridgen, sources also say at least three other officers close to him are being investigated for their possible involvement in the leak.
Chief Fitzgerald issued an internal memo, this week, reminding officers the protocols of internal investigations.
As for Pridgen, his lawyer says several individuals outside the department had access to the video during the time it was released.
Attorney Peter Schulte issued the following statement:
“Media outlets have now reported that Fort Worth Assistant Police Chief Abdul Pridgen is under internal investigation related to an alleged “leak” of Officer William Martin’s body-cam video from the embarrassing incident that occurred in December. Chief Pridgen did not release this video an...d has no information on who might have released the video.
Several other individuals, including from the Fort Wort City Attorney’s Office, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, and other members of the police department had copies of this video at the time the video was allegedly released. It is disturbing and unfortunate that the police department is focusing its investigation on two high-ranking African American Officers, and has not reached beyond the police department as part of its investigation into the alleged leak.
Chief Pridgen is an honorable man who has served the City of Fort Worth for almost 25 years. He will continue to fight this attack on his integrity and character as he has done nothing wrong. I urge Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and the City to put an end to this vicious and unwarranted attack on Chief Pridgen.”
The Fort Worth Police Department’s investigation into the leak is ongoing. It is not clear if criminal charges will be filed against anyone involved. Though, the Mayor says there likely will be charges.