Fort Worth

Fort Worth Drops Discipline Case Against Former Deputy Police Chief

The city of Fort Worth dropped a two-year-old discipline case against a former deputy police chief, agreeing to overturn his three-day suspension and give him full back pay.

The former chief, Vance Keyes, also was demoted to captain. He still works for the department.

He was disciplined by former Chief Joel Fitzgerald in May 2017 after an investigation into leaks in the high-profile arrest of Jacqueline Craig, a mother who called police to report a neighbor had choked her son.

When an officer arrived, he arrested Craig instead and the incident was recorded on video and went viral on social media.

The leak, to an activist who posted it online, included the officer's body camera footage and confidential information from the officer's personnel file.

"Ultimately the right thing happened," said Keyes attorney John Snider.

The city dropped the case after firing Chief Joel Fitzgerald in May, raising questions about whether he was available to testify in a civil service hearing.

"That was part of the equation on the city's side," Snider said. "There was a concern they wouldn't be able to prove their case without Fitzgerald."

Keyes is now eligible to be promoted to an assistant chief's position if one becomes available but his demotion two years ago could not be appealed, Snider said.

A second chief, assistant chief Abdul Pridgen, also was demoted at the same time but later left the department for a job in California.

Pridgen and Keyes both sued the city over their discipline. That lawsuit is pending.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald also is suing the city over his firing.

The city issued a statement late Thursday noting that the "decision maker" -- Fitzgerald -- is no longer employed by the city.

"A motion was filed to rescind and cancel the disciplinary appeal hearing the matter of the 3-day suspension of Captain Vance Keyes," the statement said.

The statement did not explain that Keyes filed the motion and the city did not oppose it.

The city did not respond to a question about how many other disciplinary cases may be affected by Fitzgerald's departure.

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