In the wake of the recent arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks, another racial profiling incident went viral, generating protests from within the community and outrage from people all over the world.
The cell phone video footage of a black woman being wrestled to the ground by two white police officers was taken at a Waffle House in Saraland Alabama.
25-year-old Chikesia Clemons can be seen in the video with one police officer holding on to her wrist and neck as she calmly sits on a chair inside the restaurant.
They appear to be having a heated argument while Clemons’s seemingly panicked friend, Canita Adams, takes a video of the scene. Clemons appears to become visibly uncomfortable, using her handbag to keep her chest area from being exposed in the altercation.
“You’re not going to grab on (sic) me like that, no,” Clemons can be heard saying.
The video then cuts to Clemons being physically forced to fall on her stomach, now by two police officers. A third officer appears as the first two are pinning Clemons to the ground.
“What are you doing?” Clemons asks as she’s being tackled by two armed men.
“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” one of the officers replies.
In the struggle, Clemons’s dress is pulled down, exposing her breasts. The officers can be heard demanding that she stop ‘resisting’.
According to the young woman’s mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, the conflict arose when her daughter was charged 50 cents for plastic utensils. Her daughter claimed to have received plastic utensils free of charge in the past, but the restaurant cancelled her order instead.
While she was waiting for the contact details of the regional manager of the Waffle House, the police arrived.
“They didn’t even ask her to leave, she was waiting for them to give her the district manager’s card so she could file a complaint on one of the waitresses,” Clemons-Howard said. “When they went to go get the card, that’s when the police showed up. The officer should’ve come in and said we need you to leave.”
Officials from the Saraland Police Department said an investigation into Clemons’s arrest and the officers’ conduct are underway.
The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media. The…
Surveillance footage from inside the restaurant, as well as the 911 call made by the employees at about 2:30am, were both played at a press conference on Sunday.
The emergency call was made by an employee who was insutructed by one of her managers, as several customers (two black females and one black male) had entered the premises with alcohol.
According to the surveillance footage, Clemons and Adams are seen being told to leave the restaurant by employees. Adams and their male friend are seen exiting the door, with Clemons following behind, but she changes her mind at the last minute and goes back to reengage with the employees. Adams soon returns inside as well.
The three officers then appear one by one; thereupon the brawl began. Detective Collette Little said that the fight was merely the officers’ attempt to handcuff Clemons “behind her back, which again is standard procedure.”
Little said Adams was asked “if she will assist in pulling Ms. Clemons’s shirt back up.” Adams refused the request, so the male friend stepped in and asked the officers for permission “to pull her dress up, and the female gives him permission.”
The detective also said that the police found Clemons to have been intoxicated when they arrived at the scene. She was also vomiting inside a trash can at the station after being booked.
Witnesses at the incident, including six employees and one customer, also verified that Clemons smelled of alcohol and seemed to be drunk during the time of the incident. They also said that Clemons was behaving in a disorderly manner, screaming profanities and verbally threatening the employees.
Waffle House said in a statement that they stand by the actions of the police officers, explaining that the intervention was appropriate.
Chance the Rapper also tweeted about the incident on Monday.
Protect our women. This is wrong, this is unjust and this happens to alot of women when there are NO cameras around. Stand with our women. Defend their voice, and their right to ask why they’re being handled, being removed, being CHOKED. Be infuriated. Be willing to fight 🖕🏾🐽 https://t.co/P8NMBrN0UH
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 23, 2018
David Smith, the president of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mobile, also released a statement. “In light of the current situation in our country — such as the arrest of two young black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop — we felt it was important for our members to get a firsthand account of the incident, which has now gone viral on social media locally and across the country,” he said.
“Me and my friend is truly blessed to be still here,” Adams wrote on Facebook. “That situation could’ve turned out way worst then what it was.”