Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke released the following statement on May 20, 2019, regarding the termination of Joel Fitzgerald as chief of police.
There comes a point in time when I, as City Manager, have to examine the totality of a situation and then decide a course of action. My responsibility is to make decisions and recommendations in the best interest of the City of Fort Worth.
In determining what is best for the City of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Police Department I have decided to remove Chief Fitzgerald as Police Chief effective today. Let me go ahead and address several issues and questions.
Is this action today, based on the recent incident in Washington DC? As an isolated incident, no. As an accumulation of items, yes. There are certainly several versions of what happened in Washington DC and the extent of how heated the incident or confrontation was or wasn’t. Nonetheless, there was an incident and it brings again into question judgement and leadership. The incident necessitated that the Chief, Jay Chapa and I review what happened and discuss how it impacted and impacts the Police Department and the City.
It has been documented in the media, that we (me and Jay Chapa) have been working with the Chief on some issues, more specifically, since the Fall when Chief Fitzgerald was announced as the Mayor of Baltimore’s selection as Police Chief. Questions of commitment and leadership both inside the department and in the community had been raised.
I have complete confidence in the men and women in our Police Department and in their continued service to our citizens. I have complete confidence in the management team in the Police Department and their ability to lead the organization during this change. I have appointed Ed Kraus as Interim Police Chief and we have complete confidence in his leadership abilities. In the next several months, I will consult with community leaders, police command staff and our elected officials to recommend the path forward to fill the Police Chief position on a permanent basis.