A video that appears to show a white Texas police officer arresting at least two black women following an argument over a child littering has been met with fierce backlash online and an internal police probe.
The Facebook video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times since it was published Wednesday, has sparked heavy criticism about the use of force by the officer, who can be seen holding a stun gun against one of the women’s backs.
The six-minute video begins with the woman, who has since been identified by relatives as 46-year-old Jacqueline Craig, complaining to the unidentified officer about a male neighbor who allegedly grabbed and choked her 7-year-old son after the boy apparently threw paper on the ground and refused to pick it up.
The officer responds by saying: "Why don't you teach your son not to litter?"
Warning: Viewers may find the footage disturbing
Craig appears to be upset by his comment and says her parenting has nothing to do with the neighbor’s alleged assault. “It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” she says, according to the video.
As she continues to explain why she thinks the officer should be more concerned about her accusations that her son was attacked than the allegation that he littered, the officer asks Craig why she is yelling at him.
“If you keep yelling at me, you’re going to piss me off,” he says. Moments later, Craig’s 19-year-old daughter Brea Hymond intervenes and puts herself in front of her mother. The officer then grabs the teenager. The footage appears to briefly cut out amid the chaos before both women are arrested as they’re lying on the ground.
Fort Worth Police said in a statement Thursday that the incident is under internal investigation. The involved officer, whom the department did not name, has been placed on “restricted status duty” until the investigation is over, the statement said. The encounter was captured on a body camera one of the officers was wearing.
The police department urged for “patience and calm” until authorities have a better idea of what transpired and said it acknowledges that the “initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions,” the statement said.
Craig and Hymond were released from jail Thursday afternoon after being charged with resisting arrest, according to jail records and their lawyer, S. Lee Merritt.
Merritt wrote on Twitter that both women were in “good spirits” while in custody.