Editorials

Swift answers needed in police incident

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

A crowd gathered to protest against the Fort Worth police at the Tarrant County Courthouse on Thursday, December 22, 2016.
A crowd gathered to protest against the Fort Worth police at the Tarrant County Courthouse on Thursday, December 22, 2016. jlmarshall@star-telegram.com

Christmas is a time for family, a joyous occasion filled with laughter, food and presents.

But even on a day like this, we can’t turn a blind eye to the police-involved Fort Worth incident captured on video that went viral this past week. We can’t put it aside for a “more appropriate” time.

On Wednesday, Jaqueline Craig called police alleging that a man assaulted her 7-year-old son. A Fort Worth police officer arrived, and a confrontation escalated to an infuriating degree. Craig and her two teenage daughters were arrested.

On the internet, the video showed yet another widespread moment when a police officer was not the wise and even-tempered public servant we need in these situations.

The Police Department has launched a full investigation of both the officer’s behavior and the alleged assault on the 7-year-old.

Police, the City Council and Mayor Betsy Price are asking the public for trust and patience.

Trust and patience is a hard ask, but it’s due.

We believe that the department will do a thorough investigation and provide an apt resolution, but we are deeply worried.

When you call police, you want someone who will de-escalate a problem situation. You want an authority figure you can trust.

In fact, we want police officers to be the most rational people in the room.

When an officer escalates the problem, not only does that hinder any peaceful resolution but it also makes people wary of calling police again.

The officer in this case has not been identified, but the video clearly shows that he was provocative and disrespectful toward Craig.

When she said the man had no right to grab her son, the officer asked, “Why not?”

That’s not a smart thing to say to any mother who’s protecting her child.

The officer was under pressure. People were yelling at him. Still, we expect better.

“We need for all our citizens … to have confidence that when police arrive on the scene, [the police] are going to protect them,” U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey D-Fort Worth, said at a news conference Friday.

To maintain community respect, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald must deliver a swift resolution of this matter.

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