DALLAS (Reuters) - A video showing a white Fort Worth police officer in an escalating argument with a black woman he took into custody along with the woman’s daughters touched off a social media storm on Thursday, stoking a debate on race and U.S. policing.
The woman identified by relatives as Jacqueline Craig, 46, was put on the ground and the officer held a stun gun to her back after they argued about a man she said had choked her 7-year-old son for throwing paper on the ground.
“The initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions,” Fort Worth police said in a statement.
The video was seen 1.4 million times hours after it was posted on the Facebook site of a woman who said she recorded it.
Police said the officer, who was not named, was placed on restrictive duty status.
The officer was subject to racial taunts and profanity from bystanders after the arrest, the video showed.
A series of videos showing officers using deadly force against unarmed African-Americans in recent years has touched off protests and raised questions of racial bias in U.S. policing.
The six-minute video from Fort Worth starts with Craig discussing her anger over a man she said choked her child after the littering incident.
The officer calmly says, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?”
The comment angered Craig and her tone escalated. She told the officer he should be more concerned about a man who choked her son rather than whether the child littered.
“But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” Craig said.
“Why not?” the officer asked.As the exchange escalated, Craig’s daughter put herself between her mother and the officer, which started a scuffle. The officer pulled out his Taser, forced Craig to the ground and arrested her. The teenage daughter was also taken into custody.
Craig was booked into jail on Wednesday and charged with resisting arrest, according to jail records. She was released on Thursday on bond.
The teenage daughter in the video was a minor and online records were not available. Another daughter also was arrested, police said.
S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the two women, said on Twitter Fort Worth police did not file the original report of assault on Craig’s son. Police have not commented on this.
Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Trott