Fort Worth Police Chief on the Hot Seat - NBC Southern California
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Fort Worth Police Chief on the Hot Seat

Mayor asks the City Manager to launch investigation

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    Fort Worth Police Chief in Hot Seat Over Heated 'Confrontation'

    Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is in the hot seat after reports of a heated confrontation at a national event honoring fallen officers in Washington, D.C. He says there was no confrontaton, but the mayor is asking the city manager to get to the bottom of it. (Published Friday, May 17, 2019)

    Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is facing allegations of acting inappropriately at a national police event in Washington, DC.

    Chief Fitzgerald told NBC 5 there was no such confrontation as some people are describing, but Mayor Betsy Price is concerned about the accusations and has asked the Fort Worth City Manager's office to investigate. 

    The incident allegedly occurred on Sunday in Washington, DC, where Chief Fitzgerald and several officers were attending a national event in honor of two officers and the widow of fallen Officer Garrett Hull. Fitzgerald and the president of the state Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, Austin Sgt. Todd Harrison.

    Witnesses said the chief confronted Sgt. Harrison for kicking him out of the association because he registered without the proper credentials.

    "This was his first time to be in a room with someone who had caused him embarrassment publicly and he took the opportunity to visit with that person about that." said FW City Councilman Cary Moon, District 4.

    But critics said things got heated and escalated to a point that was inappropriate and unprofessional - especially for a chief. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price heard about the incident and launched an investigation.

    "I wasn't present but I have been made aware of the situation. I have asked David Cooke and Jay Chapa to get to the bottom of this. We hold all our officers, including our Chief to a very high standard. There should be *no exceptions." Mayor Price released in a statement on Thursday night.

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    This isn't the first time Chief Fitzgerald has faced criticism. There were questions about his commitment to Fort Worth after learning he was the top pick to lead the Baltimore Police Department. He later took himself out of the running.

    The police union has also questioned how the Chief handled disciplinary action and demotions of some officers.

    As far as the recent incident in DC, most people agree it could have been handled differently...

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    "Looking back he could have chosen a wiser setting, i don't think there was an intent but I think he is probably looking back wishing he had chosen a different setting for that." said Moon.