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Wife of Arlington assistant chief refusing to participate in assault investigation

The wife of an Arlington assistant police chief who is accused of assaulting her says Arlington police released false information in the case and is now refusing to participate in the investigation.

In a statement emailed by her attorney, Stephanie Hawthorne said statements released by the department are “replete with misrepresentations and inaccuracies.”

“I am deeply concerned by these missteps by the police department as well as others,” Stephanie Hawthorne wrote. “I have now been placed in the untenable position of not being able to trust that there is not some underlying agenda that will prevent a fair and just outcome to this matter for my husband and for me.”

“Due to this circumstance, I will not participate further in the Arlington Police Department investigation,” according to Stephanie Hawthorne’s statement.

Arlington police did not immediately respond to Star-Telegram questions regarding her statements.

James Hawthorne was arrested early Sunday at the couple’s Arlington home on suspicion of assault with bodily injury to a family member.

Reached by telephone Friday afternoon, James Hawthorne declined to comment on his wife’s statement, but he adamantly denied assaulting his wife.

“I’m just confident that at the end of the day, the investigation will reveal that I did not assault my wife,” he said.

“I do stand behind my wife, and I support any decision that she makes,” he said. “I love my wife. I would never do anything to cause her any physical harm."

Claims of inaccuracies

After James Hawthorne’s arrest, Arlington police released a statement that said he had been placed on leave pending the criminal and administrative investigations.

“I am deeply disappointed that an Arlington assistant police chief was involved in an incident of domestic violence. Regardless of who you are or where you work, domestic violence will not be tolerated or ignored in our community,” Police Chief Will Johnson said in the Sunday news release.

Police reports released later this week were heavily redacted and gave few specifics on the incident but stated that James Hawthorne used his “hands, fist and feet” in the assault on his wife. His wife’s injuries were described as “swelling/redness.”

Stephanie Hawthorne, principal at Christine Barnett Junior High School in Arlington, said in her statement that recent news coverage of her family’s “private affairs” has “compelled me to clear up certain inaccuracies being communicated as true statements.”

“I felt it imperative to clarify that the statements that have been inappropriately released are incorrect and do not fairly portray the actual events that have brought my family to the attention of the media,” she wrote.

She does not detail, however, what specific statements were false, nor does she give her version regarding the incident that night that led her to call 911.

“There have been only two facts that have been completely accurate: My husband and I have been married 26 years with no history of family violence, and he has had an unblemished 28-year career in law enforcement,” she wrote.

James Hawthorne also declined to discuss what preceded his arrest early Sunday.

“I think the police need to be afforded the opportunity to weigh all the evidence and sift through it as they would any other investigation and let the facts speak for themselves,” James Hawthorne said.

‘I love what I do’

James Hawthorne remains on administrative leave pending the criminal and internal investigations. He said he is willing to take a polygraph test should Arlington police request one.

“I’m certainly willing to do that in order to make sure that we have clarity and we get to the real truth about the incident,” James Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne, one of Johnson’s three assistant chiefs and who oversees the department’s Community Support Bureau, said he is eager to return to work.

“I love what I do. I love serving the community, and I absolutely love the citizens of Arlington,” he said.

He said he has received an outpouring of support from the community since his arrest.

“It’s just been overwhelming,” Hawthorne said. “People know my character.”

“I praise God for this, even though it’s a difficult journey,” he said. “He’s obviously having me endure this ordeal so that maybe the purpose is to strengthen my relationship with him or strengthen my walk with him. Whatever it is, I’m willing to do it if it’s going to magnify him at the end.”

Stephanie Hawthorne requested privacy for her family and said her statement is the “official and final public response to this painful ordeal.”

“All families have matters that are personal and, by definition, are internal to their family,” she said.

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