A white Texas police officer who was seen on video arresting two black women over an argument about a child littering has been suspended for 10 days without pay, authorities announced Monday.
Fort Worth Police had launched an internal investigation late last month after a widely circulated video of the arrest prompted fierce backlash about the use of force by the officer, who can be seen holding a stun gun against one of the women’s backs.
The police officer, who authorities identified as Officer William Martin, had been put on “restricted status duty” until Monday when officials concluded their probe.
"Officer Martin was contrite. He’s ready to get back to work. He’s very sorry for what has transpired," Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Monday at a news conference. Fitzgerald added that the incident was an "isolated" one and said he felt the suspension was a "significant punishment."
In the video, 46-year-old Jacqueline Craig tells the officer about a neighbor who allegedly choked her 7-year-old son after the boy apparently threw paper on the ground and refused to pick it up. The officer says, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” The response escalated the encounter, which ends with the officer grabbing both women and arresting them as they’re lying on the ground, screaming.
An internal affairs investigation found Martin showed “discourtesy” and had “inappropriate contact” with at least one of the women he arrested, Fitzgerald said. The police chief said the officer will undergo training and return to patrolling the same neighborhood.
Craig's lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, criticized the lax punishment for the officer on Twitter and called for him to be fired and charged with a crime.