FORT WORTH, Texas - The Fort Worth police chief's request to give a former assistant chief a second demotion was denied. The civil service commission decided there was no probable cause to demote Captain Abdul Pridgen.
Pridgen and another officer were demoted to the rank of Captain in May.
The chief believes Pridgen and former Deputy Chief Vance Keyes leaked body cam footage of Jacqueline Craig's controversial December arrest. Pridgen was not present at the hearing and tells Fox 4 he was not required to be there.
Chief Joel Fitzgerald spoke to the Civil Service Commission and outlined the reasons why he believes Pridgen should be demoted from captain to sergeant.
"No officer or civilian employee shall reveal confidential information from anyone without authorization and only to a person or persons authorized to receive such confidential information,” the chief said.
The arresting officer, William Martin, got a 10-day suspension, which he appealed. The charges against Craig and her daughters were dropped.
The commission ruled there was no probable cause for the demotion.
It was a decision that surprised the chief.
"I wouldn't have filed it unless I supported the decision I made to demote,” Fitzgerald said.
Moments after the hearing adjourned, FOX 4 Reporter Brandon Todd asked both of the commission members why only two out of the three members were present. It was revealed that one of the commission members had recently resigned. It’s something the city attorney's office, the chief and Martin's attorney were never told.
"We're talking to legal now, and we'll see what options we have,” the chief said.
"No one was notified of the resignation, and no one was notified that there wouldn't be three commissioners here this evening,” said Terry Daffron, attorney for Officer Martin. “If that had been known, I think the city would have requested a continuance"
Since the legality of the hearing is in question, the city can file a complaint. The hearing would have to be held all over again after the city manager's office appoints a new commission member.