A video of police officers exposing a black woman’s breasts as they brutally arrested her in a Waffle House in Saraland, Alabama, has been widely shared on social media. The Saraland Police Department is now looking into the case.
Police launched an internal inquiry into the arrest of 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons in the middle of the local Waffle House on Sunday morning. The officers were captured on camera using force against the young woman and even threatened to break her arm if she continued to resist arrest.
The video, filmed by Clemons’ friend, Canita Adams, shows an officer talking to the woman before it cuts to her being brutally dragged from her chair and thrown to the ground. As Clemons cried that she had done nothing wrong and vocally protested the officers’ actions, the woman’s top slipped down, exposing her breasts. The officers, nevertheless, continued to handcuff her.
What am I doing wrong? What did I do wrong?” she asks. At one point during the heated exchange, one of the officers appears to be physically threatening toward Clemons. “I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” he says.
The video has gone viral and was shared on YouTube. The original footage, which Adams downloaded on her Facebook page, has since vanished, with Adams saying that the social media platform keeps deleting it. The friend of the arrested woman even launched an online campaign to raise money for legal fees.
Clemons was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and was released on $1,000 bail. Her mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told Al.com the whole situation stemmed from an argument her daughter had with a Waffle House cashier, who told her that she had to pay 50 cents for plastic utensils.
After Clemons refused to do so, arguing that she had not been charged anything at the same cafe on the previous night, the employee cancelled her order. Clemons then asked for the district manager’s contact details to relay her complaints. While the 25-year-old was waiting for the employee to return with the card, police stormed into the restaurant and arrested her.
Waffle House has since defended the decision of its employee to call the police, while insisting that the way things developed “differs significantly” from Clemons’ version.
Police also said that the case is in no way linked to plastic utensils. While an investigation into the incident is still underway, at a Monday news conference detective Brian Mims cited witnesses as saying that the women had been intoxicated. Staff asked them to leave because they had brought alcohol, according to media reports citing the officer.
At one point, Clemons began arguing with employees and reportedly used offensive language and threatened to “shoot this place.”The way the officers handled the case was criticized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Mobile County. NAACP President David Smith said in the statement that he was “disturbed” by the officers’ conduct.
Smith revoked another seemingly bizarre arrest of two black men in Starbucks in Philadelphia for alleged trespassing. The incident triggered protests and even forced the coffee giant to close all of its cafes in the US for one afternoon on May 29 to educate employees about racial bias.