A group of pastors gathered at a Fort Worth, Texas church on Saturday to denounce city officials downplaying what was clearly a racist arrest of a Black mother and her daughters by a White police officer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
(The video below contains graphic language and imagery.)
Jacqueline Craig, who, by the way, called the police, told the Fort Worth officer that her neighbor choked her 7-year-old son. The neighbor claimed the boy littered and refused to it pick up. The officer and Craig began arguing when the policeman apparently cared more about the litter than the neighbor assaulting her child.
He wrestles Craig to the ground after her daughter stepped between them, in what looks like an attempt to calm the situation. The officer points a Taser into the Craig’s back and handcuffs her, and then arrests her two daughters.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, who is Black, said at a news conference on Friday that his officer was rude, but not racist. “There’s a difference between rude and racism,” he stated.
At Beth Eden Baptist Church on Christmas Eve, the unified ministers rejected that characterization:
“Rude is cutting in line at the amusement park,” the Rev. Michael Bell of Greater St. Stephen First Church said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Rude is driving slow in the passing lane. The conduct of this Fort Worth police officer was obviously racist.”
The pastors urged the Black community to remain calm during an internal police investigation.
Meanwhile, the newspaper said the police department has declined to identify the officer, who is on paid restricted duty. Several pastors said it’s unsettling that the officer still has a weapon and badge.
“We do not trust him to carry a gun, nor does he have our permission to come in our community and enact deadly force,” B.R. Daniels Jr., pastor of First Greater New Hope Baptist Church, told the Star-Telegram. “He has lost credibility in our community.”