Fort Worth

Grady Spears announced as caterer for police charity despite domestic violence case

Months after being arrested by Fort Worth police on accusations of domestic violence, Texas celebrity chef Grady Spears has been announced as the caterer for a police charity event.

The announcement was made on Thursday on the Fort Worth Cops For Kids Facebook page, along with a picture of Spears, Carolyn Gilmore, the nonprofit organization’s chairwoman, and Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

Cops for Kids, which helps disadvantaged children, is run by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

Fort Worth Cops for Kids is so excited to announce that Chef, Cowboy Cook Grady Spears will be catering our VIP section on Saturday evening, March 23rd at the BBQ Cook Off!,” the announcement says.

Kathryn Jacob, president of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, called Spears’ selection “an interesting choice.”

“I think they should probably reconsider that,“ Jacob said.

Reached Monday afternoon, Manny Ramirez, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, said he had only recently learned of Spears’ involvement.

“There’s going to be something done about it,” he said. “That wasn’t a group discussion. I don’t think that the folks that made that decision had all the information.”

Later Monday afternoon, Ramirez called the Facebook post “a premature announcement.” He said a meeting is planned for Wednesday to decide who the celebrity chef will be.

“Grady Spears is not partnered with us to be celebrity chef of the VIP section,” Ramirez said.

Spears was arrested by Fort Worth police in July after they were called to Spears’ home in east Fort Worth on a report of a domestic disturbance. Wendy Mann-Spears, who had bruises on her face and body, told officers she’d been hit multiple times by Spears, police have said.

Though his wife initially blamed medications for her husband’s behavior in a Facebook post, she later filed for a protective order against Spears, alleging he had been mentally and physically abusive for about a year on an almost daily basis. That included, she stated in an affidavit, punching her in the face, hitting her with a belt, and once telling her during an argument “that there will be a funeral with two hearse vehicles, implying that he was going to kill her.”

Screenshot of Facebook post announcing that Texas celebrity Chef Grady Spears would be catering an event for Fort Worth Cops for Kids, the Fort Worth Police Officers Association’s non-profit agency. Facebook screenshot

The couple’s divorce was finalized in December, court records show.

Spears has been charged with assault with bodily injury of a family member, a Class A misdemeanor. The case was still pending as of Monday.

“If it goes to court, Fort Worth police will have to testify to their arrest,” Jacobs said. “That just feels like that would make an awkward day at the office, I would think.”

Founded in 2003 by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, Fort Worth Cops for Kids serves over 5,000 disadvantaged children in Fort Worth through scholarship opportunities, school supplies and social activities, according to its website.

Spears, the original chef at Reata restaurant, has owned or managed a string of restaurants across Texas and also written cookbooks. He is a co-founder of Horseshoe Hill Cafe in the Stockyards.

Soon after his arrest, the Food Hall at Crockett Row in the West Seventh shopping area dropped its plans for a Spears restaurant and cut ties with him.

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For 23 years, Deanna Boyd has covered crime for the Star-Telegram. She digs deep into the stories behind the tragedies and hosts Out of the Cold, a podcast about unsolved murders in North Texas. She is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and has won several journalism awards through the years.