Fort Worth police are investigating how an officer handled the arrest of a mother and her two daughters after she called for help.
The video was posted on Facebook Wednesday evening and has already been nearly one million times. It shows a woman named Jacqueline Craig explaining to an officer that she called police because her neighbor had tried to choke her young son for littering. The officer involved has been placed on restricted duty but has not been suspended or put on leave.
*WARNING: Video contains foul language.*
“My son is 7 years old. You don’t have the right to grab him, choke him for no paper that he threw. What you should have done because we have been living here for years so you know my house is a door in between yours. So you could have came to me. You don’t put your hands on my son,” Craig explains to the officer.
“Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” the officer replies.
“He can’t prove to me that my son littered,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t. He didn’t have to put his hands on him.”
“Why not?” the officer asked.
The confrontation escalated after Craig gets upset about the officer questioning her ability to raise her children. The officer then threatens to arrest her for yelling at him.
Craig’s daughter steps between them to push her mother away, and that’s when the officer pulls out his stun gun, takes Craig to the ground and handcuffs her.
“Don’t move! Don’t move!” she yells at her children.
She and others can also be heard cursing at the officer and warning him that the arrest is being recorded.
Police records show the 46-year-old mother and her two teenage daughters were arrested. But the officer never took the initial police report about choking incident, and the man who allegedly assaulted Craig's son was not arrested.
Craig apparently had outstanding warrants for traffic violations in Irving. She was held at the Mansfield jail for those charges, as well as charges of resisting arrest and failing to identify as a fugitive. Her bond was set at $5,901.90.
Her 19-year-old daughter, Brea Hymond, who was behind the video, was also jailed for resisting arrest and interfering with public duties. Both Craig and Hymond were released from jail on Thursday afternoon. The third person arrested is a juvenile. She was released with misdemeanor charges.
During a press conference, Hymond gave a passionate explanation about why she started recording a now viral video of her mother's arrest.
“That could have easily been my mother, myself or my 15-year-old sister: That's why I felt it was a need to record it because that could have been anybody,” she said. “And that could've have been his tazer he pulled out or that could have been his weapon."
The family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, says what happened was racism and demanded the officer be fired and Craig’s charges dropped.
"First, we would like to see the official report regarding the initial assault. Obviously, we want to see that officer removed from the force, fired and prosecuted,” Merritt said. “We want to see the original person tried and prosecuted.”
"I’m very distraught because what I felt I was doing was protecting my child, and it didn't happen,” Craig said. “It made me feel less of a parent that I couldn't protect him when he needed it."
"You had two citizens out there, one who had admitted to committing a crime. He said, ‘I choked the kid because he defied me’ and another one who simply said, ‘My son was the victim of a crime,” Merritt said. “The difference between those two citizens was one was white and the other was black. The white guy went home that night. My client just got out of jail recently, so the inference of racism is there. And unless they can offer a more plausible explanation why this happened and why countless incidents just like this happen all over the country, then we're gonna call a spade, and it's racism."
The Fort Worth Police Department said it is aware of the video circulating on social media and its internal affairs department is conducting an investigation. Internal affairs detectives were in the home of the man who allegedly choked Craig’s son for about an hour on Thursday. They were also in the neighborhood looking for witnesses.
"The Fort Worth Police Department enjoys a close and cooperative relationship with our citizens; one of transparency, mutual trust and respect. The Fort Worth Police Department expects every officer to treat persons they encounter with that same trust, respect and courtesy," the department said in a press release.
Police have not released the name of the officer in the video. The department also won't release body cam footage of the incident until the investigation is complete.
"We acknowledge that the initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions. We ask that our investigators are given the time and opportunity to thoroughly examine this incident and to submit their findings. This process may take time, but the integrity of the investigation rests upon the ability of the investigators to document facts and to accurately evaluate the size and scope of what transpired. We ask our community for patience and calm during this investigation process," police said.
Dr. Robert Taylor, who teaches Criminology and Policing at UT Dallas, is used as a police expert across the nation after major incidents. He was baffled by the officer’s actions.
“I don't quite understand that kind of behavior on the part of the officer,” Taylor said. “Officers are taught and trained over and over again that when you go to neighborhood disturbances there's gonna be people yelling at you and you've just got to be professional through the whole thing.”
Meanwhile, Fort Worth police issued an alert to its officers about a threat from a man who posted the video on Facebook. The department said the man is known to police and threatened to kill white police officers in Fort Worth.
More than 200 people attended a demonstration Thursday night outside of the old Tarrant County Courthouse in response to the viral video.