Jacqueline Craig and her daughter, who were arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, have been cleared of all charges after new bodycam footage proved the police officer involved in the incident used excessive force on them.
In December, Officer William Martin responded to a report that a man had assaulted a woman’s 7-year-old son. He arrived at the scene when Craig complained her neighbor had grabbed and choked her child for littering.
Instead of questioning the man who allegedly assaulted the child, the officer began arguing with Craig.
"Why don't you teach your son not to litter?" the officer asked the woman.
"He can't prove to me that my son littered," Craig said. "But it doesn't matter if he did or didn't, it doesn't give him the right to put his hands on him."
"Why not?" the officer responded.
He then went on to arrest the black woman and her daughter.
"Here's the deal. When somebody's under arrest, if anybody interferes, they go to jail too," Martin told them.
"Well, I don't know this. I'm 15 years old," Craig's daughter replied.
The entire arrest was broadcast on Facebook Live, from where it went viral. It raised concerns of racism and police brutality, since the family in question is black and the officer — as well as the neighbor who allegedly assaulted Craig’s son — is white.
The leaked footage proved racism concerns, since it showed Martin using unnecessary force on Craig’s 15-year-old girl, Brea Hymond, in the police car. She was handcuffed and when she refused to answer his question, he kicked her.
Attorneys representing Craig provided documents proving that the officer had previously been disciplined for allegedly using a Taser on a black teenager to end a foot chase.
Thanks to the body cam footage, the women have been cleared of all charges.
In the meantime, the white neighbor, Itamar Vardi, involved in the case has been issued a citation for misdemeanor assault. Officer Martin served a 10-day suspension period before returning to work. He has appealed with the city's Civil Service Commission, but Craig and her family want to see him fired and criminally charged. According to their attorney, the woman and her daughters see the suspension as "a slap in the face," since the boy suffered serious injuries from the incident.
"The police department recognizes we must work to repair the fractured relationships in our community. We are committed to ensuring all Fort Worth Police officers live up to restoring the trust you have lost in our department," said Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
For now, Martin will not be patrolling in Craig’s neighborhood.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters