A video showing a tense confrontation between a mother and a Fort Worth, Texas police office, published online Wednesday, raised allegations of police brutality and sparked intense condemnation across social media.
The footage, posted on Facebook by Porsha Craver, begins with a black woman, reportedly identified as Jacqueline Craig, speaking with an unnamed Fort Worth police officer. In the video, Craig explains to the officer, who is white, that her male neighbor, who is also white, choked Craig’s seven-year-old son after the child threw papers on the ground and didn’t pick them up. In response, the officer is heard asking, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?”
The scene devolves from there.
Visibly upset at the officer apparently dismissing her complaint, Craig points out that the issue is not whether or not her son littered, but rather that an adult allegedly assaulted her son. As the conversation grows more heated, Craig’s daughter steps in front of her mother and is roughly grabbed by the officer. After a few seconds of shoving, the footage cuts to Craig, now restrained on the ground, with the officer pointing a taser at her head. Off camera, a voice shouts, “You are live! Everything you just did is online!”
Warning: This footage contains language that may be considered offensive.
Early Thursday morning, attorney Lee Merritt, of the Philadelphia-based Merritt & Crockett law firm, wrote on Facebook that he had met with Craig and her daughter, who are now in police custody. Describing them as in “good spirits,” Merritt said he was still working for their release and promised to “go about the business of seeking justice.”
The social justice-oriented Next Generation Action Network has planned a rally for Thursday evening at the county courthouse in Fort Worth in support of Craig.
This is not the first filmed incident of a white police officer reacting strongly to an unarmed black woman to rock the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. In June, 2015, police in nearby McKinney, Texas were filmed tackling and pinning an unarmed teenaged girl to the ground at a neighborhood pool party.
Fusion has reached out to the Fort Worth Police Department for comment on the incident and will update this story accordingly.
UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, the Fort Worth Police Department addressed the incident in a brief statement to the press. There they explain that the officer in question has been placed on “restricted duty status” pending the results of an ongoing internal affairs investigation.