Texas deputy sparks outrage after pinning Black teenage girl to the ground in viral video
"This maneuver is not something that American police are trained to do," an activist group says.
A Kaufman County deputy who was captured on camera brutalizing a teenage Black girl has been put on leave pending an investigation into the disturbing incident.
The video shows a white officer pinning 18-year-old Nekia Trigg to the ground after responding to a call that she was trying to jump in front of moving vehicles. The officer is seen on top of the teen with his legs wrapped around hers, as reported by ABC News 13. Foam appears to drip from Trigg’s mouth as she struggles for air after repeatedly claiming she can’t breathe.
According to family members, the incident took place near Trigg’s home, and she was allegedly able to call her brother before the confrontation turned violent. Family members rushed to the scene and found the officer on top of the girl on the ground in the front yard of a home.
Watch the two-part video below.
Antanique Ray, Trigg’s mother, is heard in the seven-minute video telling the deputy, whose name badge says ‘Martin,’ to get off her child.
Martin yelled at the woman, “Do not touch me! Back up! Back up!”
“Everything in me went numb,” Ray said at a press conference on Thursday.
Officials said deputies were called to Rambling Way in the Deerfield Heights development after “multiple calls about a female attempting suicide by jumping into oncoming traffic.”
The department released body camera footage on Thursday, showing an officer approaching Trigg as she’s crying and walking down the street. Her family said she had just left another family member’s home and was upset.
The officer asked “Where do you live?” and “Are you OK?”
Trigg attempts to walk away but the officer grabs her arm and prevents her from leaving.
“We got a call that you were jumping out in front of cars,” the deputy said.
“No, I wasn’t,” Trigg replied.
The family claims that at some point during the encounter, Trigg was able to call her brother to tell him she was being accosted by the police. As Trigg continues to pull away from the deputy, his body camera falls, and a struggle between the two reportedly ensues.
When the family arrives at the scene, Trigg’s mother pleads with the deputy to stop.
“You can get up. You don’t have to do her like this,” a woman is heard in the video telling the deputy.
The teenager is then rolled over and handcuffed. As the police escort Trigg to a patrol car, an altercation erupts between Martin and Ray, resulting in her arrest. She was charged with assault on a public servant and interference with public duties and reportedly released on bond.
Trigg was transported to a mental health facility for evaluation, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Trigg’s sister reportedly posted the video and the footage immediately went viral. In a Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Office said the number of calls coming in about the incident was “unmanageable,” prompting the department to open an internal investigation.
Kim T. Cole, the family’s attorney, said they want the department to “examine their policies and to file charges against this officer.”
Trigg was “simply trying to get home,” she added. “I literally was in disbelief when I saw that police officer,” Ray said per the News.
“This maneuver is not something that American police are trained to do. But this officer saw fit to actually do it,” said Dominique Alexander, president of the social justice organization Next Generation Action Network.
“If he thought that Nekia was trying to harm herself, throwing her to the ground and sitting on her chest was not the way to fix that,” Cole said.
Teronica Williams, Ray’s cousin, said the deputy could have handled the situation better.
“Of course, me and our other family members are hurt this happened to her because we know what type of person she is,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “It takes one person to watch this video and devalue both her and Kia’s character and have the world thinking they deserve this and that — and that’s not fair.”
Williams disputes the officer’s claim that Trigg was jumping into traffic.
“I’m not sure what they would consider traffic when she was clearly in a residential area,” she said. “There’s not much traffic in a residential area when kids are literally always outside in the street riding bikes, playing basketball, etc.”
Martin, who’s been with the department for more than three years, is currently “not working” according to a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!