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Report: Former Baltimore police commissioner hopeful Joel Fitzgerald kicked out of Texas police union

Report: Former Baltimore police commissioner hopeful Joel Fitzgerald kicked out of Texas police union
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is pictured during a news conference May 19, 2017, at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex in Fort Worth, Texas. (Max Faulkner / TNS)

Four months after Joel Fitzgerald had to abruptly pull his name from consideration to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner, the Fort Worth police chief has been suspended from a state police union back home in Texas.

Joel Fitzgerald, the Fort Worth police chief who was being considered to be the city’s next police commissioner before he ultimately dropped out in January because of a family emergency, was kicked out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, The Star Telegram reported Friday.

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The state union wrote on social media that Fitzgerald was booted because he’d joined the state police union without being a member of his local union, the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

“Instead of joining his local union, which is constitutionally required, the chief attempted to bypass regular protocol and joined the statewide organization by bank draft,” wrote Sgt. Todd Harrison, president of the state union.

The release continued, “so, while the chief has been openly ridiculing union membership, union benefits and union lawyers, he secretly sought to avail himself of those same benefits,” Charley Wilkinson, the union’s executive director, said.

Fitzgerald did not respond to The Baltimore Sun’s request for comments through a department spokesman, but the spokesman wrote in an email Monday that Fitzgerald and his wife “have not been notified of any membership suspension.”

Department spokesman Officer Tracy Carter wrote in an email that the timing of the union’s statement is “concerning” because Fitzgerald told the union’s vice president the day before the union’s statement that he was considering filing an ethical complaint against the union’s legal counsel.

The Fort Worth chief withdrew his name from consideration to become Baltimore’s police chief in January after his 13-year-old had a medical emergency requiring two rounds of brain surgery.

It’s the second controversy Fitzgerald has spurred since moving back to Texas as the chief also drew the ire of some Fort Worth leaders for requesting a raise that would’ve made him higher paid than chiefs in Austin and Dallas.

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