Fort Worth

Fort Worth officials call for police investigation into leaked bodycam video

Leaked bodycam footage of Fort Worth viral video arrest

Warning: Graphic content and language. The bodycam footage on Fort Worth officer William Martin, who was seen in a viral video arresting Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters, was released Thursday.
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Warning: Graphic content and language. The bodycam footage on Fort Worth officer William Martin, who was seen in a viral video arresting Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters, was released Thursday.

City officials called Thursday for a police investigation into the leak of a Fort Worth officer’s bodycam video from the arrest of Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters last month.

The release of the video was “unauthorized and illegal,” the city attorney’s office said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.

The footage, which shows the Dec. 21 encounter between officer William Martin and the Craigs from a new angle, was provided earlier in the day to The Associated Press by the attorneys representing Craig.

One of the attorneys, Lee Merritt, said he received the footage from a trusted source whom he declined to identify.

The Police Department has denied news media requests for the release of Martin’s bodycam footage. The AP reported that the audio of the bodycam video released Thursday matches the audio of the Facebook video posted by Craig’s family.

Sgt. Marc Povero, police spokesman, said that the department did not release the footage and did not have a comment on it.

City officials also want police to investigate the leak of information from Martin’s personnel file, which Merritt also provided to the AP. Details of it were publicized on Facebook by Shaun King, an activist who writes for the New York Daily News. King’s post had been shared more than 58,000 times.

The release of the bodycam video and of information from Martin’s personnel file were both violations of state law, the city said in its statement.

“City leaders have called for a swift and thorough investigation by the Fort Worth Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit regarding this illegal and unauthorized release of information,” the statement said.

In the bodycam footage, Martin can be seen pushing Craig’s 15-year-old daughter, Jacques Craig, into the police car and kicking at her, and the conversation between Martin and the daughter can be heard in the video.

“Here’s the deal. When somebody’s under arrest, if anybody interferes, they go to jail too,” Martin says.

“Well, I don’t know this. I’m 15 years old,” Craig’s daughter replies.

At another point, someone tells Martin that she is shooting video of the arrests. He replies that he is shooting video as well and that “mine’s in HD.”

Terry Daffron, Martin’s attorney provided through the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, said in a statement that it would be “reckless for me to comment on the distorted portrayal of the facts and narrative Mr. Merritt has taken out of context from his illegally obtained items.”

The incident began when Craig, 46, called police to report she suspected that her neighbor, an adult male, had choked her 7-year-old son because he dropped some raisins in his yard and refused to pick them up when asked.

Craig’s 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, was recording a video of the discussion between Martin and Craig on Facebook when tensions rose.

As the conversation heated up, Jacques Craig stepped in and Martin grabbed her from behind. The video shows Martin wrestle the two women to the ground and point his Taser at them. Other women who had gathered at the scene scream obscenities at Martin, the video shows.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson

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