Two Texas police officers have been demoted after an internal investigation into the leak of body cam footage that documents the controversial arrest of a Black woman and her daughters.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald on Friday announced Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen and Deputy Chief Vance Keyes would now carry the rank of captain. He added he will recommend Pridgen be further demoted to sergeant while Keyes also faces a three-day suspension, NBC reported.
Both officers were placed on restricted duty amid an investigation into who shared Officer William Martin’s body cam footage, which recorded an arrest that made headlines across the country.
Jacqueline Craig in December phoned officers for assistance, telling them her neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son. Though Craig was the one who called for help, a discussion she had with Martin quickly escalated into an argument that ended with Craig and her 15-year-old daughter on the ground and in handcuffs.
Craig’s older daughter, who was also arrested, recorded the entire incident on her cell phone. Weeks after the footage went viral, the body cam video was released.
Martin was suspended for 10 days.
Fitzgerald said Friday the pair left a digital trail that implicates them in the leak, however both men have denied sharing the video. The chief said the same files that had been leaked had been downloaded from Pridgen’s office computer, NBC reported. Keyes was in the office when it occurred.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make as chief,” Fitzgerald said during a news conference, describing Keyes and Pridgen “two men I trusted, called colleagues and called friends.”
The Craig family is calling for Fitzgerald to be fired, labeling the demotion of the officers another injustice in the case.
Pridgen told the news station he expected justice would win out in the end.
“I’m pretty sure they can expect a lawsuit,” the officer said.
Had the footage not been leaked to the public, we may have never known what REALLY happened to Jacqueline and her kids.