FORT WORTH POLICE OFFICER FIRED OVER INCIDENT AT READING OF WILL
(Deanna Boyd) A Fort Worth police officer has been fired over allegations that he used his position to take sides during the reading of a will of a church member.
The firing, which took effect April 6, stems from an October incident in which M.L. Jackson, off-duty but in uniform, attended a funeral of a fellow church member and, the next day, the reading of the will.
According to civil service documents, a heated argument that could have turned physical broke out during the reading.
“Officer Jackson failed to take police action and stood by as the disturbance during the reading became so volatile that a witness stated she felt ‘concerned for her safety,’” the letter says.
It says Jackson walked out of the reading and called for on-duty units to respond to the church. He then went back inside, asked a family member involved in the disturbance to come outside and told the man that he had several outstanding warrants and was going to be arrested.
Instead of arresting the man, however, responding officers advised him on how to take care of his warrants and suggested that he leave the church to prevent further disturbances, the letter says.
During an internal investigation, the letter says, Jackson, who has been with the department since January 2010, lied about when he ran a warrant check on the man and gave conflicting answers on whether he had been asked to attend the reading of the will.
“Officer Jackson’s actions and inactions while dealing with the disturbance inside the church and his attempt to cover up his wrongdoings with untruthfulness violated the authority entrusted in him by the citizens and the City of Fort Worth,” the letter says.
Department rules prohibit officers from wearing their uniforms off-duty except when traveling to and from work, appearing in court or working approved second jobs. Craig Driskell, Jackson’s attorney, said his client denies the allegations and is appealing.