FORT WORTH, Texas - The Fort Worth police officer who was suspended for using excessive forced testified about his decision.
Cell phone video of Officer William Martin arresting Jacqueline Craig and her daughters went viral. Soon after, Martin’s body camera and his personnel file were leaked.
Charges against Craig and her daughters were later dropped. Officer Martin is now appealing his 10-day suspension.
A large room at the Fort Worth Police Department headquarters complex was the backdrop for the process through which Officer Martin is appealing his suspension. He's already served his time in the case of the December 2016 encounter with Craig and her family members.
Both Martin and Craig testified in front of the panel on Wednesday. The officer said he's actually defending his use of force and did not believe it was excessive.
At times, the review panel played the body cam video which documents the exchange as Martin responded to Craig's call for help when she complained that a neighbor choked her 7-year-old son for allegedly littering on his property.
Martin admitted he was rude in his comments to Craig from the beginning. He told the panel he regrets asking Craig why she didn’t teach her son not to litter.
“I regret my choice of words,” he said. “I shouldn't have asked her that. I apologize for it.”
Craig told the panel she was hurt and felt like she was being judged by Officer Martin’s initial question.
“When you came, you came not to figure out what was going on,” she said. “You had your own agenda in your head when you stepped out of the car. Because that was nothing that I would have ever thought a police officer would say when you're saying someone has assaulted a child.”
Officer Martin testified about the technique he used to place Craig’s daughter in custody. He disputed that he raised her arms behind her because she wasn't telling him her name and age. He says he did that because she was not in control and was asking others to come and assist her.
The arbitrator in the case says there are several more witnesses who will be questioned and provide their testimony. Detectives and internal affairs investigators are on the list to testify Thursday morning.