FORT WORTH, Texas - The Fort Worth officer suspended for his part in the viral arrest told his side of the story to investigators. In his own words, he said the arrest was sparked by a 'pet peeve.'
In the video released to FOX4 after an open records request, Officer William Martin was seen reading his statement from a computer screen. He said that he didn't think the claim by Jaqueline Craig on December 23, that a neighbor had choked her 7-year-old child for littering, was plausible. He also questioned why Craig hadn't called for an ambulance if her child was choked.
"It did not make sense to me that the white male would randomly choke a child for no reason,” Martin said.
In a Facebook live video that went viral, the officer is seen asking Craig why she didn't her son not to litter.
"I don't know why I asked her the question,” Martin told investigators. “I guess I was so irritated by the tone of her voice. And the situation over littering had gotten so out of hand."
Martin ended up arresting Craig and her two daughters. A month later, the body cam footage was leaked showing the same incident. But it was that question from Martin about littering that seemed to make matters worse.
"Littering is kind of one of my pet peeves. It's like people driving with no insurance, you know,” Martin said. “No insurance or anything — it just drives me nuts when I see someone throw a McDonald’s bag out of the car when they're going down the freeway."
Martin then elaborated and told the internal affairs investigator why littering is a pet peeve.
"When I mow, I gotta go pick up sometimes,” he said. “I think one time I picked up three or four five-pound buckets of other people's trash before I mowed. And it just drives me nuts when people litter."
Eventually, the charges against Craig and her daughters were dropped. Martin was suspended for 10 days and is appealing the punishment
Craig's family has called the arrest racist. Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Martin's behavior was rude that day but not racist.
There is also a separate investigation into who leaked that body cam video and also personnel records of Officer Martin that is against state law. That investigation has been thorough, including more than one member of the police department's command staff.