FORT WORTH, Texas -- On Tuesday, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald fired former officer Courtney Johnson for shooting an unarmed man in 2015. The District Attorney's Office dropped charges against Johnson after his mistrial in May.
Jeanette Adams recalls the moment clearly when her step-son, Craig Adams, was shot.
"When I came to the door and looked out, my poor son was laying on the ground in that gap driveway with the policeman standing over him," Jeanette said.
The boy she raised into a man, Craig Adams, is still recovering after being shot by Officer Johnson in June 2015. Police said on the night of the incident that they had been searching for a prowler with a knife. A video showed Adams was down on one knee, in his own yard, and had put his barbecue fork down when he was shot.
"I just can't understand why that man would shoot him like that," Jeanette Adams says.
Chief Fitzgerald announced unexpectedly he had fired that officer, Courtney Johnson, for his "reckless" actions two years ago.
"Mr. Adams was shot by our officer who racked his firearm, a shotgun at that point, and discharged it. I believe that was careless," Fitzgerald said on Tuesday.
The DA dropped the aggravated assault by a public servant charge against Johnson after his case resulted in a mistrial in May. In that trial, Johnson told the jury it was an unintentional shooting.
"Officers come into contact with folks every day, and we need to exercise a degree of restraint we didn’t see here," Fitzgerald said.
He explained that there was 30 days after Johnson's criminal investigation closed when the charges were dropped to investigate administratively. Fitzgerald told Johnson of his decision Tuesday afternoon. Fitzgerald says the DA's decision had no bearing on his.
"My granddaughter just called over here and said they fired the man," Jeanette Adams said when we stopped by her home. She was still processing the news.
"I just don’t see how a person can just shoot a person down like that, just because he had a fork in his hand," she said.
In this case, the police chief agreed.
Johnson's police union attorney, Terry Daffron, declined to comment on the firing Tuesday, but said Wednesday they would likely speak. She says they are "absolutely" appealing the case.
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