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The police department in Fort Worth, Texas issued a statement Monday condemning Fox News host Tucker Carlson for an "absolutely inaccurate" report about its handling of recent protests. The police force said Carlson was reckless and contributed to "an environment of confusion and bitterness."
The department posted a response on its Facebook page to a Carlson segment from May 31, which alleged that Police Chief Ed Kraus had "dropped all charges" against dozens of rioters who were arrested for looting and vandalism. Carlson featured it in a segment about Republican-controlled cities that he said were "bowing" to Black Lives Matter.
Carlson also claimed Kraus issued a statement "suggesting that the real criminals in the riot were not the rioters, but his own police officers, whom he suggested would be reined in and perhaps punished." He said the police chief sounded "more like a therapist than a cop," and implied Fort Worth's murder rate could rise "if the people in charge undermine the law."
The police department said Carlson was undermining the truth.
"This information is absolutely inaccurate and is not consistent with the actual facts," it said in its statement. "The only charges dropped were minor misdemeanors which did not involve property or personal crimes."
The department added that Carlson's claim about Kraus shaming his own officers "is absolutely inaccurate and a gross mischaracterization of any statement released by Chief Kraus or the department."
"Recklessly releasing such inaccurate, unverified information does nothing for the good of the public and simply creates an environment of confusion and bitterness during a time in which so many are wanting their voices heard," it said.
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Kraus' statement after the arrests did not compare his officers to criminals or talk about punishing them, as Carlson claimed, but rather said he is "committed to enacting the necessary reforms to improve our police department and our relationship with the community we serve." The police chief also noted that since May 31, the protests had been peaceful.
Police arrested 40 protesters on May 31 for suspicion of inciting a riot, and Kraus later announced that all charges for rioting would be dropped. He clarified that charges for vandalism, theft and assault would still be pursued.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out several other inaccuracies in Carlson's report. Carlson claimed three officers were injured during "rioting," while in fact one was hurt by a projectile and a second was injured while making an arrest. And Carlson wrongly claimed protesters blocked a bridge downtown, when it was the police who blocked it as protesters marched.
Carlson has largely been supportive of police during the recent weeks of protests calling for reform, and has been a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement for years. Major advertisers, including the Walt Disney Company and T Mobile, have dropped his show in the past week over his inflammatory comments about Black Lives Matter.
Carlson has not issued a correction for any information in his May 31 segment. Fox News representatives would not comment on the record to CBS News.