Charges dropped against mother, daughter in viral Fort Worth arrest video

MAN CHARGED, FAMILY CLEARED AFTER VIDEO LEAKS

Fort Worth Police have dropped the charges against the mother and daughter seen in a viral video being arrested last month.

Cell phone video of the arrests of Jacqueline Craig and her teen daughter spread online in December. Craig had called Fort Worth Police to report that a man had choked her 7-year-old son.

An argument escalated between Craig and Officer William Martin, who eventually pulled out his Taser and put Craig, her daughter Brea Hymond and a third female in custody.

Craig, 46, and Hymond, 19, each faced charges of resisting arrest search or transport. Those charges were dropped Thursday, over a month later.

“We’re an agency that believes in procedural justice. And with procedural justice, everything doesn’t happen overnight,” Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Thursday. “This decision didn’t happen in a vacuum. My decision to pull back these charges was something that I thought was right, something that we owed the community and the Craig family in particular.” 

"We stand in support of the Chief's decision to handle this case at the city level," read a statement from Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. "This is the most appropriate avenue to address the charges. [...] I am committed to the restorative process needed to heal any breach of trust in our community."

Itamar Vardi, the man first accused of choking Craig's son, has been issued a citation for assault by contact.

No parts of the case will be referred to a grand jury, News 8 learned. Initially, the actions of the officer, the Craig family and the neighbor were going to be sent to a grand jury. All of those referrals were withdrawn since no felony-level offenses occurred, according to a county spokesperson.

Multiple protests have been organized in the last month calling for Martin’s firing. The officer was suspended 10 days without pay and returned to work this week. He won't return to his assignment in the Rock Garden neighborhood where the arrests occurred.

Fitzgerald said Martin will go through "a tremendous amount of re-training."

Footage from Officer Martin’s bodycam showing the arrests also surfaced Thursday. Fort Worth Police are investigating how that video became public. At a press conference Thursday morning on an unrelated manner, the department did not answer questions about the bodycam footage.

In the days following the arrest, Fitzgerald said he was “disappointed” in the initial arrest video and said Martin acted “rude” toward the family, but stopped short of labeling it as racism.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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