Add asking about whether it’s protocol to pay for plastic utensils to the list of things you apparently can’t do while black without someone calling the police on you.
Video footage showing the brutal takedown by police of a black Mobile, Ala., woman at a local Waffle House has sparked fury both online and in the local community, prompting protests and sit-ins, AL.com reports.
The incident happened early Sunday when 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons and her friend Canita Adams went to Waffle House. While placing an order, Clemons asked for plastic utensils, at which point an employee told her that would be an additional charge of 50 cents.
When Clemons and Adams told the employee that they had not been charged for utensils when they’d purchased food from that same Waffle House just the night before, the employee suddenly canceled their order. Clemons then asked for the contact information for the Waffle House district manager.
“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’ mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told the news site. “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.’”
Video shows that after briefly speaking to Clemons, a white Saraland, Ala., police officer dragged the young woman by her arm from where she was sitting and onto the floor of the Waffle House. Three officers stood over the young woman and pulled at her limbs as they attempted to cuff her. Their actions resulted in Clemons’ top being pulled down, exposing her breasts.
Throughout the altercation, Clemons and Adams can be heard attempting to get answers out of the officers as to why Clemons was being apprehended.
“What are you doing?” Clemons asks.
“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” an officer can be heard responding.
Even as the two women voice their distress, customers can be seen eating in the background.
Clemons was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Clemons-Howard told the news site. The mother paid Clemons’ $1,000 bond Sunday morning.
“The footage shows the story completely,” the upset mother said. “My nerves are very, very bad right now.”
Mobile NAACP President David Smith released a statement Sunday, noting that the organization would be gathering facts on the incident, especially in light of the recent, inexplicable arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks.
“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,” Smith noted.
As for the officers, a spokesperson for the Saraland Police Department, Detective Collette Little, said that the department would be investigating.
“The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media,” a department statement read. “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.”
In the meantime, Waffle House appears to be siding with the police actions.
A Waffle House spokesperson told AL.com that although it is “still obtaining and reviewing information,” it believes that there is reason to question Clemons’ version of what happened.
“[I]t’s fair to say that the information we have received at this point differs significantly from what has reportedly been attributed to Ms. Clemons and strongly supports the actions taken by the Saraland Police Department,” spokesperson Pat Warner told the news site via email.