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Fort Worth Police Chief Confronts Leader of State Police Union in Nation's Capitol

While in Washington, D.C. for National Police Week, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald confronted the leader of the state police union, CLEAT, according to Forth Worth Police Association president, Manny Ramirez.

The confrontation came just days after Fitzgerald was suspended from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT.

CLEAT said on May 10 that Fitzgerald attempted to bypass regular protocol and joined the statewide organization without being a member of the local Fort Worth Police Union first. 

NBC 5 is told that the confrontation between Fitzgerald and CLEAT President, Austin Sgt. Todd Harrison was after an awards banquet and dinner on Sunday as the group gathered to take a photo with the widow of fallen Fort Worth Police Officer Garrett Hull.

Ramirez said he placed himself between Chief Fitzgerald and Harrison to defuse the situation and told the chief it was not the time or place to have a conversation.

"Am I disappointed in the chief? I mean looking back, he could’ve chosen a little bit wiser setting. I don’t think there was ill intent, but I think he’s probably looking back wishing he had chosen a different setting for that," said Fort Worth City Councilman Cary Moon.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released a statement Thursday night, saying... "I wasn't present, but I have been made aware of the situation by numerous witnesses. I have asked David Cooke and Jay Chapa to get to the bottom of this. We hold all our officers, including our chief, to a very high standard. There should be no exceptions."

NBC 5 reached out to Chief Fitzgerald for comment, but so far have not heard back. A spokesman did tell us the intention was never to be confrontational and that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.

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