Text messages released in Fort Worth officer investigation

A former top Fort Worth Police Department commander is defending his reputation. Some of his text messages about a controversial arrest were released.

Captain Vance Keyes said he was blatantly disrespected when he was demoted and accused FWPD of being racist.

Keyes was demoted from deputy chief in May, along with Captain Abdul Pridgen who was demoted from assistant chief. Both were accused of leaking body camera video and the personnel file of Officer William Martin.

The leaked video shows Martin’s controversial arrest of Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters in December.

In text messages dated Dec. 21, 2016, Pridgen says, “I can barely watch this.”

“His name is Martin. How is this not false arrest?” Keyes replies.

“It is. He needs to be placed on restricted duty and assigned to DRU,” Pridgen says.

Officer Martin was ultimately suspended for 10 days. But his attorney says the texts prove prejudice against him in the police internal investigation.

Martin served his 10-day suspension in January and is appealing to have that overturned and get back pay.

Pridgen and Keyes have both have denied leaking the video and say there is no real evidence. Keyes spoke before the city the city council Tuesday night.

“My message was I am not intimidated by anybody’s rank, by anybody’s position, by anybody’s title. Again, you don’t get to impugn my character in the media and not expect a response. I’m a grown man. I’m a black man. I’m a police officer. I am all of those things and I see no conflict with any,” Keyes said.

Keyes also called on the city and the police department to have an honest conversation on race and racial disparity within the department.