The arrest of a 25-year-old Black woman at a Waffle House in Saraland, Ala., resulted in her on the floor with her breasts exposed. Some citizens echoed the acts of protesters of a Philadelphia Starbucks by holding a sit-in in the parking lot of the Waffle House.
Saraland, a suburb of Mobile, Ala., is 10 percent Black. The state of Alabama is 26.8 percent Black.
According to witnesses, the incident did not start off well for Chikesia Clemons, who appeared to be intoxicated when she walked into the restaurant with two friends. One of the members of the trio had an alcoholic beverage. Staff members asked Clemons and two people she was with to leave. Clemons’ friends left, but she did not. Instead, she approached the counter and cursed at and threatened employees.
Witnesses told police that Clemons said, “I’ll come over this counter and beat your fucking ass,” and, “Bitch, you don’t know what I’ve got going on. … I may have a gun, I may have anything, I can come back and shoot this place up if I need to.”
Clemons and her mother claimed the entire incident was sparked when Clemons asked for a plastic fork and an employee charged her 50 cents. When Clemons questioned her because the same restaurant did not charge her for utensils the night before the waitress cancelled her order. Clemons proceeded to request a manager and instead the police showed up.
Clemons did not behave like a model citizen, but the video of her arrest remains disturbing and does not help the police department’s case.
Cell phone video shows an officer drag Clemons off of her chair and onto the ground. One officer flips her over so she could be cuffed. No one in the restaurant appears to be startled by the altercation as the mostly white crowd goes on with their business.
During the arrest Clemons’ breasts are exposed and when she asks one officer what he is doing he replies, “I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do.” They charged her with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and she was released Sunday morning. Media outlets reported the amount was between $1,000 and $1,500.
According to ABC News, Clemons will appear in court in June.
James C. West, Saraland’s chief of police, said at a press conference that the officers involved in the arrest will not face any consequences at this time. Both West and another detective who spoke at the press conference are white.
Waffle House took to Twitter to say that “police intervention was appropriate.” The restaurant did not go so far as to say the manner of arrest was appropriate but did not indicate anything to suggest the opposite, either.