Fort Worth’s police chief expressed dismay Friday over a viral video showing a white officer scolding a black mother who was trying to report that her 7-year-old son had been assaulted — then arresting her and her teenage daughters.
“What we’ve seen in the video disturbed us,” Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said at a news conference.
A few minutes later, Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Tex.) called the officer’s behavior “rude and condescending,” echoing many of the millions of people who have seen the video since it hit Facebook on Wednesday.
A Texas state representative said she was “outraged,” like much of the public. But at the end of the news conference, the police chief resisted the conclusion many outraged viewers have made about the video.
“I can’t call it racist,” Fitzgerald said. “The officer was rude. There’s a difference between rude and racism.”
The unnamed white officer has been placed on “restricted duty status” while the department investigates the incident, in which he arrested the mother, 46-year-old Jacqueline Craig, and her two teenage daughters, as seen in the six-minute video. The video — which shows the officer pointing his stun gun at teenagers during the controversial arrests — has been shared nearly 100,000 times and racked up 2.7 million views.
Craig was charged with resisting arrest, according to jail records obtained by the Star-Telegram.
Brea Hymond, Craig’s 19-year-old daughter, was also charged with resisting arrest and interfering with public duty, the paper reported.
A second 15-year-old daughter was also arrested, but charging information was not immediately available.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the woman, told the Star-Telegram that he wants the charges against his clients “dropped immediately,” calling them “completely manufactured.”
“We want to see the officer involved terminated from his position as a peace officer within Fort Worth and would also like to see him prosecuted criminally for his behavior — for his felony assault of my clients,” Merritt added. “We would like to see the individual who all this started from — the neighbor who assaulted a 7-year-old child — prosecuted as well.”
He noted on Twitter that police didn’t take Craig’s original report about her son allegedly being assaulted.