On last Thursday morning I told you about an awful case of police brutality in Fort Worth, Texas. A mother, Jacqueline Craig, who is black, called the police because a man in the neighborhood, who is white, choked her 7 year old son. Within a minute of the police arriving, the officer dismissed her claim, demeaned her, arrested her, and arrested her young daughter and niece as well.
Today, I want give you an update on the case and tell you how you can make a difference. Public pressure helps.
The Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, after he had a chance to view the cell phone video of Jacqueline Craig being manhandled and arrested by police had this to say in a recent press conference:
“The officer was rude, but I can’t call it racism. There is a difference between rude and racist.”
The chief is right. Racism and rudeness are not one in the same, but if he expects me or anyone else to believe that what his officers said and did to Jacqueline Craig, her teenage daughter, and her teenage niece was not racist, then he needs a new definition of racism.
First off, Jacqueline Craig was right to call the police. If any of my children told me that a man in our neighborhood choked them, I’d have a hard time not confronting the man myself. From the video filmed by her family, we witness Craig calmly and methodically explaining her grievance to the officer.
What followed was not simply rudeness, but racism.
“Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” the officer asks to Craig in response to her explaining how a grown man just choked her young son.
“It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” replied the increasingly frustrated mother.
“Why not?” the officer responds.
If you think for one moment that if a white mother called the police because a grown black man in the neighborhood choked her white 7 year old son, that the officer would’ve responded the same way, then I have a bridge to sell you. That black man, rightfully so, would’ve been arrested on the spot. Once the facts were clear, the officer would’ve pivoted away from that white mother, to the criminality of a young child being assaulted by a grown man in the neighborhood.
That the officer assessed the situation and basically determined that a young boy littering is worth him being choked by a grown man, is not rude. Farting and not saying excuse me is rude. Accidentally stepping on my shoe is rude.
This officer went far beyond the bounds of rudeness. He thought so little of this young boy and his mother that he seemed genuinely frustrated that she expected him to do anything about the boy being assaulted. In so many words, he basically told this young mother that her son’s life didn’t matter and that when a black boy litters on a white man’s lawn, a good ol’ choking might just be the appropriate response.
Let me rephrase it another way. If a random black man in the neighborhood choked the officer’s 7 year old child, do you think he’d be OK with it? Of course he wouldn’t.
We must stop reducing racism to the presence of a certain tattoo or symbol or word and determining that unless we see one of those things, racism must not exist. Racism is unequal treatment.
Fort Worth police said they arrested the two teenagers and Jacqueline Craig for “resisting arrest,” but what were they under arrest for? They damn sure weren’t arrested for impeding an investigation. The officer seemed to have little interest in investigating anything Jacqueline Craig told him about her young son being assaulted.
I’ll close with this…
We need you to do three things:
- Tweet @FortWorthPD and let them know how you feel.
- Go to the Forth Worth Police Departments Facebook page and let them know how you feel. Type their name in the search box and it will come right up.
- Call them @ 817-335-4222 and let them know how you feel. That’s their non emergency line.