FORT WORTH -- A few days after a cellphone video gained millions of views on social media and thrust Fort Worth into the national spotlight, the officer who arrested a mother and her two daughters told an investigator that littering was one of his pet peeves.
Jacqueline Craig, who is black, was arrested on Dec. 21 by William Martin, a white Fort Worth police officer, after she called police to report that a neighbor assaulted her elementary school-age son.
In a videotaped interview with investigators a copy of which was obtained by the Star-Telegram, Martin said the boy’s supposed littering triggered the alleged assault. Family members have said that the boy dropped some raisins in their neighbor Itamar Vardi’s yard.
“It just kind of drives me nuts when I see someone throwing a McDonald’s bag out of a car when they are going down the freeway,” Martin said. “I’ve got over 2,000-foot frontage on the road and before I mow I have to pick up sometimes. I think one time I picked up maybe three, four, five buckets of other people’s trash before I mow. It just drives me nuts when people litter.”
Martin told investigators that if Vardi did grab the boy, the neighbor was in the wrong.
“I believed the kid did something just because no sane person would just randomly grab a kid and not just choke them but just grab a random kid off the street,” Martin is recorded saying. “It didn’t make sense. That’s why I said why didn’t it matter (that he littered) because that’s what started it all. The guy was painting his fence trying to improve the look in his neighborhood and the kid threw trash in his yard.”
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