Fort Worth

Should Fort Worth’s fired police chief receive a public hearing? A judge may decide.

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald fired by city manager

The firing comes weeks after Fitzgerald was kicked out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and days after he had a heated encounter with the state union’s president in Washington, D.C.
Up Next
The firing comes weeks after Fitzgerald was kicked out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and days after he had a heated encounter with the state union’s president in Washington, D.C.

An attorney for fired Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said he’ll seek a court order to force the city to hold a public hearing regarding the termination.

Stephen Kennedy, who is representing Fitzgerald in a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the city, sent a letter to Fort Worth City Attorney Sarah Fullenwider last week demanding a hearing for Fitzgerald. The city denied the request, so Kennedy wrote a second letter Thursday. It said he plans to file a motion for temporary restraining order and temporary injunction unless the city agrees to a hearing within 30 days.

Kennedy maintains that under Fort Worth’s city charter, only the city manager can fire a director and the director is entitled to a public hearing before the decision to terminate is finalized. Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa terminated Fitzgerald, not City Manager David Cooke, in violation of this policy, Kennedy argues.

Chapa oversees the police department.

“Last week, I requested that you comply with the city charter and grant Dr. Fitzgerald a public hearing. You refused,” Kenndey wrote in his letter Thursday. “I want to give you an opportunity to change your mind.”

The City Council does not approve or oversee the police chief. Instead, the city manager has the power to hire and fire the chief.

“The City Council is not authorized to render the type of relief you are requesting on behalf of your client,” Fullenwider wrote in her original response.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments