FORT WORTH, Texas – On a Tuesday afternoon, life on Rock Garden Trail looks and sounds like life on any other Fort Worth street. If you look and listen a little closer, you’ll notice things are in need of some repair.
“It was sad. It was very sad,” neighbor Celia Esparza says. “You never think something like that will happen in your own community.”
Esparza lives just down the road from where a now infamous Facebook video was taken. It shows Fort Worth Police Officer William Martin getting physical with mother Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters after he showed up to investigate multiple 911 calls.
A neighbor was reporting the Craigs for harassment, police say, and the Craigs were reporting the neighbor for grabbing their son.
“He’s ready to get back to work. He is very sorry for what has transpired,” Chief Joel Fitzgerald said of Martin Monday. He added that once Martin is done with his 10-day unpaid suspension, the punishment for what happened in the video, he will return to patrolling the very same area.
“Get back into the neighborhood and re-establish some of the relationships we feel were damaged from what we saw on the video,” Fitzgerald said.
Esparza says the department can start by giving its officers additional sensitivity and cultural awareness training.
“I think he needs to make right on what he did,” she says.
But not everyone here thinks that’s possible. The Craig family, who declined our request for an interview Tuesday through their attorney, has indicated they will not accept anything less than the officer being fired.
Neighbor Tony Harris also thought it was “outrageous” the officer wasn’t fired, and says trust for the officer is gone. He does not believe Martin should return to working in their south Fort Worth neighborhood.
“I think we all deserve a second chance,” Esparza says. “We all deserve a second opportunity.”
Opinions are divided.