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To: Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald
Fire Cop Who Arrested Black Mom After White Man Attacked Her Child
1. Immediately fire the unnamed policeman.
2. Justly compensate Jacqueline Craig and her family for pain and suffering.
3. Denounce the inherent racism of the interaction.
4. Prosecute the white neighbor accused of assaulting the 7-year-old black child.
Why is this important?
On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, a black mother, Ms. Jacqueline Craig, called the police in Fort Worth, Texas, after learning that an adult, white neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son for allegedly littering on the sidewalk. The unnamed police officer who arrived at the scene talked to all the parties involved, including the accused neighbor, who did not deny the assault.
The police officer ignored the assault entirely to focus on the accusation of littering. Like the slogan "Make America Great Again," the cop's loaded question used coded, racist language and assumptions about black parenting to blame Ms. Craig for what happened to her child. “Well why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” he asked Craig. He proceeded to violently arrest Craig and her two under-aged daughters, all of which was filmed and posted online.
In response to the incident, the Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald was quoted saying “I can’t call it racist. The officer was rude. There’s a difference between rude and racism.” However, the facts of this case suggest otherwise: a white man accused of the felonious act of assaulting a child was allowed to walk free while his black victims were arrested for daring to assert their humanity and rights. If the victims had been white and the assailant black, the outcome of this case would almost certainly have been completely different.
Chief Fitzgerald ’s knee-jerk denial of the police officer’s racism, which itself is racist, has also led him to miss the magnitude of the criminal assault perpetrated against an entire family by a member of his force. Ms. Craig and her daughters did not merely suffer rude behavior; they were the victims of a violent and traumatic attack at the hands of a police officer at a moment when they were vulnerable and were asking for help. When the mother stood up to the man who assaulted her 7-year-old son, the police criminalized her parenting, excused the man who engaged in corporal violence against her child, arrested her and her two daughters violently, and threatened them with a stun gun.
The outrageous Fort Worth incident is a microcosm of contemporary police racism in the 21st century United States. It shows the extent to which racist police contempt
1. dehumanizes and threatens the lives of black children and their families
2. prevents police from deploying reason as they carry out elementary duties
3. animates violent police responses to people of color
4. hinders accurate assessments of reality by their other officers
With Donald Trump preparing to take office, we have seen numerous incidents in which people have asserted a right to be racist. This climate needs to change. The Black Lives Matter Movement and its most progressive proposals to demilitarize and demobilize the police are crucial. One place to start is with the demand for accountability when an egregious example of racism and police brutality is caught on film.
Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/12/22/a-black-mother-told-police-a-white-man-assaulted-her-child-they-arrested-her-instead/?postshare=9641482457249082&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.f5c8cc7eff92