Fort Worth Police End Viral Video Investigation of Black Family Arrested by White Officer

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Michael MarksJanuary 9, 2017 1:40 pm

Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Houston yesterday. They discussed trade and economic opportunities.

The United States hasn’t officially recognized Taiwan since 1979.

Cruz said that the government of China asked the Houston Congressional delegation not to meet with Tsai.

The Fort Worth Police Department will announce the result of its investigation into a white police officer who arrested a black woman and her two daughters in late December.

Video of the interaction was broadcast over Facebook Live, and went viral. It showed Jacqueline Craig being wrestled to the ground by the officer, who hasn’t been identified.

Video below contains profanity and may not be suitable for young audiences.

Craig called the police to report that a white man had choked her 7-year-old son over littering in his yard. When she told the officer she didn’t think littering justified the man putting his hands on her son, the officer said “Why not?”

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is the city’s first black chief.

Christopher Connelly of KERA in North Texas reported how the local community is closely watching how he handles the situation:

“[Fitzgerald] said he was disturbed by what he saw in the video, but it was the chief’s answer to a question about whether the video showed an officer being racist that grabbed headlines.

“‘What I can say is that I noticed in the video that the officer was rude. And there’s a difference between rude and racism,’ Fitzgerald said.”

Connelly reports that Rev. Kyev Tatum is part of a group of faith leaders called the Circle of Clergy for Change. Many of the pastors said that Fitzgerald’s comments miss the bigger picture.

“When you defend an officer who is indefensible, and saying it was rude and not racist, when those of us who are feeling the impact of this institutional racism, then that tells that you’re disingenuous, no matter what your color is,” Tatum says.

A grand jury in Tarrant County is also looking at whether anyone involved in the incident should face charges.

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Texas city of Pasadena promoted and implemented a system that diluted the vote of Latino residents.

Since 2014, the Pasadena City Council has been composed of six representatives from single-member districts and two at-large members.

Judge Lee Rosenthal ruled the system inflates the power of voters in districts that are primarily white. She ordered the Houston suburb to revert to its previous system of eight single-member districts.

The Texas Tribune spoke to Pasadena City Council Member Cody Ray Wheeler earlier this year about campaigning among the city’s Latino residents when the now-struck-down system was in place.

“For me it was really sad on a personal level because we went out, talking to them, saying ‘Your vote does matter, you can make a difference,’” Wheeler said. “It almost validated what I kept hearing. They moved the goalposts back again. It doesn’t matter, they’re going to do what they want anyways. As we get closer to making this city more equal, they’re going to push back hard on us.”

The city will also have to submit any future changes to its voting system to the U.S. Department of Justice.