The Latest: Fort Worth mayor supports dropping charges

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2017 2:02 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Latest on a case involving a Fort Worth police officer who was seen on video wrestling a black woman and her daughter to the ground (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

The mayor of a north Texas city where a white police officer was seen wrestling a black woman and her daughter to the ground in a video posted on Facebook in December says she supports the police chief's decision to drop charges against the women.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price issued a statement Thursday, shortly after the Police Department said it was dropping the resisting arrest and other charges against Jacqueline Craig and her daughter, who filmed the incident. The incident started when officer William Martin responded to an argument between Craig and a neighbor. Craig said the neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son after the boy allegedly littered on the neighbor's property.

Price said she supports Chief Joel Fitzgerald's decision to "handle this case at the city level," adding that she is committed to restoring trust in the community. Price and Fitzgerald held a news conference shortly after the incident, saying they believed Martin's behavior was rude, but not racist.

A phone message seeking comment from Craig's attorneys was not immediately returned Thursday.

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12:30 p.m.

Police in Texas have dropped all charges against a mother who was wrestled to the ground by a Fort Worth police officer in a video posted to Facebook in December.

Fort Worth police said in a statement Thursday that they decided to withdraw charges against Jacqueline Craig and her 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, after consulting with Tarrant County prosecutors. The statement doesn't say whether charges were dropped against Craig's 15-year-old daughter.

The incident happened after officer William Martin responded to a fight between Craig and her neighbor. Craig said the neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son after the boy allegedly littered on the neighbor's property.

Police also said Thursday that they've cited the neighbor, Itamar Vardi, for assault.

Martin is appealing a 10-day suspension he received for the incident.

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6:35 a.m.

Bodycam footage from a Fort Worth police officer suspended for wrestling a black woman and her daughter to the ground appears to show the officer using his foot to push a 15-year-old girl into a police car.

The footage was provided Thursday to The Associated Press from attorneys representing Jacqueline Craig, who had called police to report that a neighbor choked her 7-year-old son. One of her daughters videoed the interactions between Craig and Officer William Martin and posted it online.

Fort Worth police have denied media requests to release Martin's bodycam footage. Craig's attorney, Lee Merritt said, in an email that he had received the video from a trusted anonymous source.

Martin returned to work this week after a 10-day suspension. Martin's attorney has appealed his suspension.