Black Leaders Pressure Fort Worth Officials for Swift Action Against Officer

A group of Fort Worth clergymen and community activists are putting pressure on city leaders to immediately fire an officer shown in a viral video arresting a mother who called police for help.Today the group held a press conference urging police Chief Joel Fitzgerald to fire the unnamed officer seen in a Facebook video last week wrestling Jacqueline Craig to the ground. She had called police saying her 7-year-old son, who is black, was choked by a white man in their neighborhood who was upset the child littered and defied him."We don't want to hear 'an ongoing investigation,'" said Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Action Network, adding that action should be swift.Fitzgerald and Mayor Betsy Price have said the city is investigating the matter. The chief has called the video shocking and said the white officer -- who is currently on restricted duty -- appeared to be rude but not racist.A group of 43 clergymen who gathered in Fort Worth on Saturday called for the immediate suspension of the officer and called his actions blatantly racist. Last Thursday, protesters gathered in downtown Fort Worth urging police to "do the right thing."Today's group said Fitzgerald's characterization of the incident as "rude" is a signal that the investigation might not be handled properly because it is dismissing the core conflict. Another protest rally is planned for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the old Tarrant County Courthouse."To dismiss the element of race closes the door on that discussion on how we improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they are hired to protect," said Kim T. Cole, a Fort Worth lawyer with the Next Generation Action Network. "If we fail to characterize this officer's actions correctly, they won't be addressed."Representatives from the group said race was a factor because police would have reacted much differently if the suspect had been black and the child white.   Continue reading...

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