Two Fort Worth assistant police chiefs have been demoted to captain following an investigation into the leak of a viral body camera video, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced Friday.
Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen and Deputy Chief Vance Keyes were summoned to a meeting Friday afternoon with Fitzgerald, who said he will recommend Pridgen be further demoted to sergeant.
Additionally, Keyes faces a three-day suspension.
"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make as chief," Fitzgerald said at a Friday night news conference.
The chief said Pridgen and Keyes were "two men I trusted, called colleagues and called friends."
The evidence showed the same files that were leaked had been downloaded from Pridgen's office computer at a time he and Keyes were in his office, Fitzgerald said.
Both men were less than candid with internal affairs investigators they once supervised, the chief added.
"Both of these men knew more than they disclosed to investigators," Fitzgerald said.
After learning his punishment, Pridgen said justice would be done and added, "I'm pretty sure they can expect a lawsuit."
Pridgen and Keyes had been placed on restricted duty amid a probe into who leaked Officer William Martin’s body camera video of a controversial arrest in December. Martin’s private personnel file also was released anonymously.
Martin was suspended for 10 days after he arrested Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters. Cell phone video of the arrests in December was broadcast nationwide and drew widespread criticism.
Craig called 911 to complain a neighbor had assaulted her son after accusing him of littering. Martin questioned why Craig didn’t teach her son not to litter and suggested the neighbor had the right to assault her son.
Weeks after the cell phone video went viral, footage of the same incident from Martin’s body camera was leaked.
The department launched a criminal investigation and a separate internal affairs investigation into the leak.
Pridgen and Keyes have denied being the source of the leaks and their attorneys have already spoken out against the decision to demote them.
Family and supporters of Jacqueline Craig are calling for Chief Fitzgerald to be fired over his handling of the case.
Craig and her supporters said they feel the decision to demote Pridgen and Keyes is a second injustice because it's more severe than the 10-day suspension Officer Martin received after the initial incident.
They also disagree with the entire premise of the investigation because they believe the body camera video the chiefs are accused of leaking should have been made public from the beginning.
As assistant chief, Pridgen earned $167,999, according to city records. Keyes earned $133,972 as deputy chief.