By Crystal Defatte
A video was released yesterday by Porsha Craver, a Fort Worth, TX resident. The video depicts a Fort Worth policeman briefly questioning a white male before he turns to a black female, identified as Jacqueline Craig by multiple news sources, and asks her, “What’s wrong with you?”. The woman explains that the white male had choked her seven-year-old son because he refused to pick up a piece of paper he had thrown on the ground.
Instead of asking the man why he would feel it was alright to choke a child, the police officer instead asks Ms. Craig why she didn’t teach her son not to litter as if the littering somehow justified a grown man choking a child. Ms. Craig, obviously upset by the comment, points out the fact that the littering does not mean the man has a right to put his hands on her child. Instead of agreeing with her and respecting the law he is supposed to uphold, he responds with, “Why not?”.
Understandably, Ms. Craig became upset and raised her voice slightly. When asked why she was yelling she stated that the officer had pissed her off for asking what she was teaching her children. The officer then warns her that if she “keeps yelling at me you’re going to piss me off and I’m going to take you to jail.”. At that point, her 19-year-old daughter, identified by other news sources as Brea Hymond, tries to get between the officer and Ms.Craig in what appears to be an effort to calm Ms. Craig in order to defuse the situation.
The situation was not defused, unfortunately, and instead, the two women were thrown to the ground with a taser pointed first at Ms. Craig’s back and then at bystanders. At this point, the person who filmed the incident can be heard screaming for the two women to “Shut the fuck up! Don’t move!”. Ms. Craig and Ms. Hymond are then escorted to the police vehicle while the woman who took the video yells expletives and repeatedly informs the officer that he is being filmed. Once Ms. Craig and Ms. Hymond are in the vehicle, the woman taking the video is also arrested and the phone is confiscated.
It is telling that the woman taking the video even felt the need to record this incident. She knew that even though her family member had called to report an assault, there was a chance that the victims would be treated as criminals. Many people of color have learned that all too often police are not fulfilling their oath to protect and serve black communities and are instead treating them with disdain and disrespect. It is outrageous that a woman whose son was allegedly assaulted is herself assaulted by the police we are all taught we should call for help. It is outrageous that a woman who has not shown any violent intent would have a taser pointed directly at her back at point blank range. It is outrageous that this whole incident plays out with the man accused of actual violence looking on without any restraints on him.
According to New York Daily News columnist Shaun King, Jacqueline Craig and her daughter remained in custody Thursday morning. Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney with the Dallas-based Merritt & Crockett Law Offices, said on Facebook he was going to see Craig and Hymond at the Fort Worth City Jail. He posted a video early Thursday morning saying he is representing them as his clients. Merritt said the Fort Worth Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the “unusual arrest,” of the women. The Fort Worth Police Department, which maintains an active presence on social media, had not posted about the video, despite being flooded with messages about it on Twitter and Facebook, until Thursday morning. (Heavy.com)
The entire video of the incident, as well as the afterthoughts of a woman presumed to be the one who took the video, can be seen here.
The Fort Worth Police Department has issued a statement in response to the viral video.
“The investigators worked throughout the night and into the morning interviewing witnesses and reviewing video evidence; including video from a body worn camera that was active during the incident,” FWPD wrote.
The department says the officer involved has been placed on “restricted duty status” by the chief.
“Since this is an internal investigation, state law limits the information that may be released, including the officer’s body cam footage,” FWPD says.
The department adds that it “enjoys a close and cooperative relationship” with citizens built on “transparency, mutual trust and respect,” and that it expects officers to treat citizens the same.
“We ask that our investigators are given the time and opportunity to thoroughly examine this incident and to submit their findings. This process may take time, but the integrity of the investigation rests upon the ability of the investigators to document facts and to accurately evaluate the size and scope of what transpired. We ask our community for patience and calm during this investigation process.”