Police in Fort Worth, Texas, detained and later released three armed men who were seen walking near the home of Jacqueline Craig whose violent arrest sparked intense backlash last year.
KDFW-TV (Channel 4) reports the group of men was spotted “carrying rifles,” leading a group of around 20 people, which included children. They said they were there to “defend” Craig.
Since the men, according to the police’s statement to NBC5, didn't make any threats or point their weapons at anyone, they were released.
Craig made headlines after she called the police to report a neighbor who had allegedly choked her 7-year-old son for throwing a piece of paper and not picking it up. A cop, later identified as William Martin, showed up but instead of questioning the neighbor, he confronted the woman and questioned her parenting style. The argument escalated and the officer pinned her down, threatening to Taser her and her daughter. He then arrested them.
The incident was caught on camera and posted on social media from where it went viral, prompting heated debate over race relations and police brutality in the country.
Despite widespread outrage over Martin’s (clearly) biased response to the woman’s complaint, the Fort Worth Police Department dispensed punishment that was only a slap on the wrist — a 10-day suspension without pay.
Craig says she while she doesn’t feel threatened by the police, she no longer feels “protected” around them.
She reportedly appreciated the help of the group of people who patrolled outside her house as a gesture to help her family.
“They felt it was their responsibility to come up and show their support,” said Lee Merritt, one of Craig’s attorneys, according to Dallas Morning News.
“She said it meant a lot to have complete strangers come and try to protect her,” Roderick Smith, a spokesman for Craig, told Fox 4 News. “When the individuals that she pays, which is the Fort Worth Police Department, failed to do so."
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joshua Lott