Arlington assistant chief at center of domestic violence allegation will retire

An Arlington assistant police chief arrested last month on allegations that he assaulted his wife has alerted city officials that he intends to retire.

James Hawthorne, who had been on administrative leave since his Nov. 17 arrest, emailed his intentions to city officials Thursday. He declined to comment Friday on the reason for his decision.

“As you are aware, this matter is still under review by the Tarrant County district attorney’s office,” Hawthorne said. “As a law enforcement executive, I have due regard for this process. I look forward to speaking in detail about what has transpired in the very near future. However, I will respectfully refrain from any further comment until the criminal investigation concludes.”

In a previous interview with the Star-Telegram, the 28-year police veteran had adamantly denied assaulting his wife of 26 years, Stephanie Hawthorne, and expressed confidence that a criminal investigation would clear him.

He said at the time that he also hoped to keep his job.

Arlington police submitted their case to the district attorney’s office this week, but Hawthorne had not been formally charged with assault of a family member as of Friday morning.

“We recently received the case, and it’s currently under review,” said Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. “Once that evaluation is complete, decisions will be made.”

Stephanie Hawthorne, a principal at Arlington’s Christine Barnett Junior High School, called 911 early Nov. 17.

Though police have not specified the allegations against Hawthorne, heavily redacted police reports allege that he used his “hands, fist and feet” in the assault and that his wife suffered “swelling/redness.”

Days after her husband’s arrest, Stephanie Hawthorne accused police of misrepresenting what happened and said she would no longer participate in the investigation.

She also tried to have an emergency protective order lifted, writing to a judge that she “grossly overreacted” in seeking the order. State law, however, prohibited the lifting of the order, which prohibits James Hawthorne from coming within 500 feet of his wife’s home or workplace for 61 days.

Police did not respond to a message seeking comment on Hawthorne’s planned retirement.

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