Another day, another violent arrest of a Black person that began with an alleged nonviolent offense.
On Tuesday in Forney, Texas, a Black teen and her mother were both arrested after police responded to a call about a disturbance involving the teen allegedly jumping in and out of traffic. The teen’s family members dispute the allegation, saying she was just walking home and that it’s a residential street with no heavy flow of traffic. But the real issue is why a white male police officer felt the need to lie down with the bulk of his weight bearing down on the stomach and chest of a Black teenager while she says the words that, at this point, should be the title of the book on how cops handle Black suspects—“I can’t breathe.”
The Dallas Morning News reports Antanique Ray, 41, and her daughter, 18-year-old Nekia Trigg, were both arrested after an altercation that left onlookers stunned and is now under investigation, according to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
Video of the incident taken from a bystander’s cellphone began with the officer, who has been identified as Kaufman County Deputy Conner Martin, according to Newsweek, laying on top of Trigg and pinning her down as she cried, struggled and screamed, “I can’t breathe!”
Ray can be seen and heard trying to calm her daughter during the struggle and trying to reason with Martin regarding the rough manner in which he is handling a young woman.
“You don’t have to ever hit her, OK? She will stay down,” Ray told Martin.
Martin can be heard shouting, “Do not touch me! Back up! Back up!” as Ray reaches for her daughter to comfort her.
From the News:
Ray tells the deputy that he doesn’t have to restrain Trigg, but he says that she was trying to jump in front of cars.
As another deputy walks up with handcuffs, Ray squeezes her daughter’s hand and asks her to stay calm. Someone on the video expresses concern for Trigg’s welfare, noting that it looks as if she’s foaming at the mouth as she says she can’t breathe.
The deputies roll Trigg over and cuff her hands behind her back, then raise her to her feet and begin walking her into the street. Ray walks with them, and the deputies tell her to let go of her daughter.
In the span of a few seconds, Martin appears to reach over to separate the two women, Ray takes several steps back and then Martin tackles her onto the street.
A third deputy attempts to keep onlookers out of the street and then helps the other deputies restrain both women. A fourth law-enforcement official points a stun gun at the person recording the video; it’s not clear what agency he is with.
“All I did was ask you to listen to us,” Ray told Martin. “I didn’t touch you. I touched my daughter when she said [the handcuffs] were too tight.”
Ray has been charged with assault of a public servant and interference with public duties. She was booked into the Kaufman County Jail and has since been released on bond. Trigg was taken from the scene to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. It’s unclear what criminal charges she faces, if any.
According to Newsweek, the woman who captured the video and posted it to Instagram said, “Nekia was simply walking home and somebody called the police & said she was trying to jump in front of cars.”
Ray’s cousin, Teronica Williams, said the police were excessive in the way they handled the situation, particularly Trigg.
“Of course, me and our other family members are hurt this happened to her because we know what type of person she is,” she said. “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.”
She also disputed the accusation that she was jumping in and out of traffic.
“I’m not sure what they would consider traffic when she was clearly in a residential area,” Williams said. “There’s not much traffic in a residential area when kids are literally always outside in the street riding bikes, playing basketball, etc.”
Meanwhile, the public response to the incident and the video that captured it has been so overwhelming that the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office posted a statement to Facebook asking that people stop calling about what happened because the call volume was “unmanageable.”
In a statement to the News, the Sheriff’s Office said Martin currently “is not working,” which presumably means he’s been placed on leave while the incident is being investigated.