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Ellis County constable arrested for April Stockyards altercation

An Ellis County constable is free on bond after turning himself into Fort Worth police last week in an ongoing investigation of an altercation last April at a restaurant in the Stockyards, according to reports.

Ben Fry, Ellis County's Precinct 1 constable, on Saturday came to the Tarrant County Jail with his lawyer and turned himself in on a charge of official oppression, said Lt. Paul Henderson, police spokesman.

Fry, 52, of Ennis, was released on bond, according to court records, but the amount was unavailable Thursday morning.

The constable was unavailable for comment on Thursday. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Bill Woody was also unavailable Thursday morning.

The incident was reported April 5 at Cardona's Mexican Restaurant, 130 E. Exchange Ave., according to reports.

"According to witnesses, Fry was unhappy with his service and requested that the alcohol on his bill be discounted as compensation," Henderson said.

A restaurant representative told him, however, that state liquor laws prevented that. Alternatively, he was offered a 5 percent break on the food bill, but Fry became outraged, Henderson said.

Witnesses said Fry announced that he was a police officer who could shut down the restaurant, Henderson said.

"He allegedly walked behind the bar and demanded to see the liquor license and told the owner that he was conducting an inspection," Henderson said.

A woman stated that Fry also "grabbed her wrist then pushed her backwards as he attempted to snatch the receipt from her hand," Henderson said. "That's when she called Fort Worth police."

Police questioned Fry and allowed him to leave, but they continued their investigation by taking statements from witnesses.

An arrest warrant on the charge of official oppression was issued last week, and Judge Woody was notified that Fry would be arrested, Henderson said.

The constable subsequently Saturday came to the jail and was released on bond, but he had not yet been officially charged Thursday by the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office, according to records.

The Texas Penal Code states, in part, that official oppression occurs when a public official uses his or her office to mistreat someone. It's a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Fry began his law enforcement career in 1976 with the Hood County Sheriff's Department, according to an Ellis County Website.

He worked 15 years in a Dallas County constable's office, and moved to Ellis County in 1999 where he volunteered as a reserve deputy for constables there.

He was elected in 2002 to the office of Precinct 1 constable, according to the Web site.