The City of Commerce has confirmed in a press release that Police Chief Kerry Crews has been placed on administrative leave while a Fort Worth law firm investigates a complaint by Carmen Ponder, Miss Black Texas 2016 that she was wrongfully arrested after a dispute between two motorists. Since the incident, there have been numerous conflicting statements about the situation. Ponder is a student at Texas A&M-Commerce.
City Of Commerce Press Release
“On May 20, 2017, the Commerce Police Department responded to a call about a dispute between two motorists entering the Walmart parking lot. Though not on duty and present only as a customer, Police Chief Kerry Crews became engaged in the incident after being approached by one of the parties. Chief Crews made contact with the other party, but she failed to comply with his requests. As a result, she was arrested for evading arrest or detention with the responding officer arrived. She was then taken to the Hunt County Jail.
Since the incident there have been a number of statements made about the details of the incident, and many of these details do not align with the statements provided by Chief Crews and the responding officer. As such, the City is engaging an outside entity to conduct an investigation into the incident to objectively review and determine the facts.
For the benefit of the investigation, and in keeping with common practice, Chief Crews will be placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. This is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing and should not be perceived as a disciplinary action. The work of the Commerce Police Department is essential to the community, and it is beneficial to both Chief Crews, the officers, and the City to allow him to serve without the distraction of an investigation clouding his day-to-day management of the department. Disciplinary action, if warranted, cannot be taken until after the investigation has concluded.
At this time, the City of Commerce will hold all additional comments until the investigation has progressed.”
The Commerce City Council voted to hire the Fort Worth-based law firm Lynn Ross and Gannaway to investigate the matter.