An attorney and a minister representing a black woman and her two teenage daughters involved in a confrontation with a white police officer in an incident involving the woman’s 7-year-old son demanded Tuesday night that officer be suspended and the case brought before a grand jury.
The attorney, Lee Merritt, told the City Council late Tuesday night that the officer, William Martin, “should have been fired.”
“That police department works for you,” Merritt said. “Your department failed to do its basic job.”
Dominique Alexander, founder and activist with the Next Generation Action Network, a multicultural nonprofit, and a handful of other citizens also demanded that the officer be fired, that charges brought against Jacqueline Craig, 46, and her 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, be dropped, and the neighbor who touched Craig’s son be charged with assault.
“You need to answer to this,” Alexander said.
The incident happened at a residence in southwest Fort Worth on Dec. 21. Martin had responded to a potential assault call and the situation escalated. One of Craig’s daughters, who called police, recorded the incident on her cellphone. That recording went viral on social media. The video shows Martin pointing his Taser at Craig and her 15-year-old daughter, Jacques Craig. He also wrestled them both to the ground.
Martin was subsequently suspended without pay for 10 days. A handful of citizens Tuesday night told the council the punishment is not enough.
Craig and her family were at the council meeting but did not speak.
Arlington resident Virginia Thornton called the officer’s actions “unequivocally abusive and incompetent. He should have been released from the department. This case cries for justice. You have the power to do good.”
Alexander told the council its failure to address the problems only fuels community anger.
The council needs “to get rid of this officer. We’re not going to sugarcoat anything. Jacqueline Craig was slammed [to the ground]. Her daughter was slammed [to the ground],” he said. “It’s not just an isolated incident.”
Following the incident, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said the officer violated state and departmental rules and policies in using excessive force. Martin’s suspension began Jan. 10.
Craig called police because she suspected a male adult neighbor had choked her son because he dropped some raisins in the man’s yard and refused to pick them up when he asked.