Video Showing Texas Police Arrest Stirs ControversyDec. 22, 201601:30
A white Texas police officer whose violent arrest of three black women went viral when it hit the internet was placed on restricted duty Thursday while an internal investigation is under way, officials said.
Fort Worth police did not identify the officer who was caught on camera wrestling at least two of the women to the ground and pointing a Taser at another person.
"We acknowledge that the initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions," the department said in a statement. "We ask that our investigators are given the time and opportunity to thoroughly examine this incident and submit their findings."
That means that for now the most vivid account of what happened Wednesday is the video recorded by a cousin of one of the women who was arrested, identified by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as Porsha Carver.
"Since this is an internal investigation, state law limits the information that may be released, including the officer's body cam footage," police said. "We ask our community for patience and calm during this investigation process."
The confrontation erupted after Jacqueline Craig called Fort Worth police to report that a white neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
In the video, the responding officer can be seen talking to the neighbor, who claimed that Craig's son left litter on his property and defied his request to pick it up, the station reported.
Then the officer turns to Craig and asks, "Why don't you teach your son not to litter?"
"He can't prove to me that he did or didn't," a furious Craig replies. "But it doesn't matter. That doesn't give him the right to put his hands on him."
"Why not?" the officer replies.
When Brea Hymond, Craig's daughter, tries to get between them, the officer tackles her.
At one point, the officer is seen on the video pulling out his Taser as he wrestles Craig and Hymond to the ground. But it was not immediately clear whether he used it or whom he was aiming the device at.
The person recording the arrests can be heard swearing a blue streak in the background, calling the officer a "racist pig" and worse.
As of Thursday night, the video had garnered 2.1 million views.
Craig, 46, was charged with resisting arrest and for having outstanding traffic warrants, police said. Hymond, 19, was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with public duty.
The name of the third woman in custody and the charges against her were not immediately available.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas came down on the side of the women, saying the officer "ignored basic community policing standards and his own responsibility to de-escalate the confrontation."
"When the mother of a seven-year-old boy calls the police to report an assault on her son, the responding officer should expect to find her distraught," Executive Director Terri Burke said Thursday.
"This incident and countless others like them demonstrate that for people of color, showing anything less than absolute deference to police officers — regardless of the circumstances — can have unjust and often tragic consequences," Burke said.
Burke said incidents like these are a "threat to public safety."
"If a black woman in Fort Worth can't call the cops after her son is allegedly choked by a neighbor without getting arrested, why would she ever call the cops again?"
The racially charged encounter in Fort Worth came a day after a J.C. Penney shopper was videotaped going on an expletive-laden tirade against two Latina customers.