Fort Worth

Video prompts firing of Fort Worth sergeant a year after viral video of Craig arrest

A 22-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department was fired after review of the arrest of a woman in which an officer was “impatient, initiated an unnecessary physical confrontation and then ordered a rookie police officer to tase the woman,” according to a statement from police released Monday.

Sgt. Kenneth Pierce was told Monday that he was terminated by Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, the statement said.

Police supervisors conducting a mandatory use-of-force review discovered the incident, the statement said, and Fitzgerald Monday released the footage.

The incident took place in August, after a woman called for assistance regarding a domestic disturbance.

She was cooperating, Fitzgerald said in the news release, when Pierce took action.

“I’m confident that everyone who sees this video, including members of this department, will agree this supervisor’s response and subsequent behaviors are absolutely unacceptable,” Fitzgerald said in the release.

But Terry Daffron, attorney for the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, said the chief's take on the 12-minute-plus video doesn't paint the whole picture.

Daffron will represent Pierce in his appeal, which she said will be formally filed on Tuesday.

"They are making claims that Pierce escalated the situation, and I don't see it that way," said Daffron. "I see that she was completely noncompliant with everything she was asked to do. He came in and was trying to help the rookie officer gain control to try to get her to comply."

Fitzgerald said in the news release that the department has tried to contact the victim several times, but that she has not responded. He said charges against her were dropped.

The department’s statement calls the incident “eerily reminiscent” of the arrest of Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters a year ago, which was in the national spotlight after the video went viral.

Pierce's firing comes almost a year to the day of that arrest. Video of the incident, on Dec. 21, 2016, went viral and became a national story. The officer, William Martin, was suspended for 10 days without pay for escalating the situation and other errors in judgment.

Martin, who is white, arrested Craig and her daughters, who are black, after Craig had called the police for help in a dispute with a neighbor.

Last week, the city of Fort Worth told Craig that it will not pay damages in claims she filed against the city over her arrest, which for months caused outcry in the city's black community. The claims are likely headed to federal court.

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