Alabama Police are now saying that protocol was followed when a Black woman was thrown to the ground, and had her breasts exposed as police officers placed her under arrest at a Waffle House.
The officers’ rough handling of Chikesia Clemons has sparked controversy. Clemons says police arrived on the scene after she asked to speak to a manager about paying 50 cents for plasticware.
In a now viral video, police threatened to break the woman’s arm, manhandled her and threw her to the floor. Critics have said her aggressive treatment by police was racist and unnecessary. Protestors picketed in front of the Waffle House, calling for action.
The case has been likened to the arrest of two Black men who were arrested at a Philly Starbucks without cause. The police chief in that case had to later apologize for saying that the incident was justified when he first heard about it.
Now the Saraland Police Department seems to be taking the same actions as the Philly police department. They released a statement about the incident saying:
“The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media. The situation is being thoroughly reviewed and is under active investigation right now. Our department strives for transparency and we encourage our community to be aware of current events. Saraland’s public safety director, Chief J. C. West, and the mayor are aware of the situation and are awaiting the results of the investigation. When the facts of the investigation are gathered, we will have a response.”
At a press conference, Detective Brian Mims said Clemons was disorderly and cursed at the officers and threatened them and employees saying:
“‘You ain’t going to be here tomorrow,’” Detective Mims said the women told employees. “‘I may have a gun. I may have anything. I can come back up here and shoot this place up if I need to.’”
He maintains that race has nothing to do with the arrest and how the situation played out.
“Based on the interviews conducted,” he said, “it was based solely on that they were asked to take their beverages out and not to consume them on premises.”
Support for Chiquita Clemons-Howard
The local N.A.A.CP and Clemons’ mother disagrees and say her treatment was heavy-handed.
“I don’t feel like she was treated fairly,” her mother, Chiquita Clemons-Howard, said at an N.A.A.C.P. meeting on Sunday evening. “I want to get justice for my daughter.”
Clemons’ friend Canita Adams, recorded the video but Waffle House and the Saraland police contend that the cellphone video only tells a fraction of what happened. Waffle House responded and said: “police intervention was appropriate.”
Saraland Police Department said they will not be disciplining the three officers and they have not released the officers’ names.
Waffle House said the store’s video shows the full story, however they have yet to make any such video available for public review.
Clemons was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
This is a bad week for the restaurant chain. Over the weekend, four people were killed at a Tennessee Waffle House by Travis Reinking.