Fort Worth Police Chief Withdraws His Name From Baltimore Police Search
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald has withdrawn his name from consideration to be Baltimore’s next police commissioner.
The announcement about Fitzgerald's decision was made in a Monday tweet from the Fort Worth Police Department. It did not provide more details.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on Twitter said she respects Fitzgerald's decision to withdraw his candidacy "in order to devote full attention to his son." She says his son will undergo brain surgery to remove a mass discovered last week.
"Our fervent prayers are with him and his family during what is unquestionable a troubling and stressful period for them," she wrote.
After a lengthy discussion with Chief Joel Fitzgerald, I respect his decision to withdraw his candidacy for Baltimore Police Commissioner in order to devote his full attention to his son— Mayor Catherine Pugh (@MayorPugh50) January 7, 2019
The mayor's office had announced that Fitzgerald would not be able to travel to Baltimore for a hearing into his nomination because of a medical emergency involving his son.
Pugh's nomination of Fitzgerald was rocky from the start as Baltimore struggles to find a permanent police leader. Fitzgerald would have been the fourth police commissioner in the last 12 months.
The city of Fort Worth issued a statement:
"The City of Fort Worth has been very patient and supportive throughout this awkward approval process, with Chief Fitzgerald and the City of Baltimore," the statement said. "We understand that Chief Fitzgerald is dealing with a family emergency and we are providing him the opportunity to take the time he needs to spend with his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. When the time is right, we look forward to working with him to understand his desire to fully commit to the work here in Fort Worth."
NPR reported on Fitzgerald over the weekend:
The Baltimore Sun found Fitzgerald embellished his role instituting the Fort Worth Police Department's body camera program and that he took credit for the department's improved reporting on racial profiling despite a law Texas mandating such efforts. On Saturday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund issued a statement calling for the city to withdraw Fitzgerald's nomination and consider other finalists. "Fitzgerald's record and the process used to select him gives us no confidence that he is the commissioner Baltimore needs," the organization said in a tweet.
This story has been updated.