Saraland, AL – The woman who claimed she’d been racially profiled and threatened when she was arrested in a viral video shot in a Waffle House in Saraland was found guilty by a judge on Monday (video below).
Erwing sentenced Clemons to 10 days in jail, but suspended it in lieu of one year of informal probation. He also ordered Clemons to pay a $200 fine and court fees for each charge as a penalty for her bad behavior in the Waffle House in April.
Clemons caused a social media firestorm after her arrest when she posted the video of the arrest along with allegations that the incident had been racially motivated.
Authorities fully investigated her allegations and determined the altercation had nothing to do with race, despite reports saying otherwise, and that the police officers did nothing wrong.
A cell phone video captured the arrest and showed Clemons fought and argued with police while they attempted to handcuff her on the ground, but it did not show Clemons threatening employees before the video started.
Without context, the video quickly went viral and there was an instantaneous backlash against both Waffle House and the Saraland police, where protesters showed up at the restaurant with signs and blocked business for a couple of days.
Waffle House employees told police that the women arrived carrying an alcoholic beverage, and were told they couldn’t have it.
A male friend joined them but the videos showed that he didn’t appear to get involved in the kerfuffle.
Clemons’ mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told The Birmingham News that her daughter had gotten upset because she’d requested an extra set of plastic eating utensils, and was told that they would cost an additional 50 cents.
But employees said they’d agreed to give Clemons the utensils for free after she had a fit, and that the silverware wasn’t the reason she was asked to leave Waffle House, police said.
“I interviewed the three officers… six employees and one customer. Two witnesses were African-American and four were female. All witness accounts were in concert, and reported the individuals smelled of alcohol and appeared intoxicated. One person did bring a drink into the establishment… they were asked to leave because of the beverage,” Saraland Police Detective Brian Mims said.
Witnesses told police the situation rapidly escalated and the women started screaming obscenities at the restaurant staff, Detective Mims said.
“Bitch, you don’t know what I got going on. Why you is in my business - I may have a gun, I may have anything. I can come back here and shoot this place up if I need to,” one of the women threatened, witnesses told police.
“I’ll come over this counter and beat your fucking ass,” one of the women told an employee, a witness reported.
“Bitch, I’m gonna have your job. You ain’t gonna be here tomorrow,” one of them taunted the employee, according to witness statements given to the Saraland PD.
When police arrived, witnesses reported that Clemons refused to comply with officers’ commands multiple times before she was arrested.
The cell phone video that went viral, which was recorded and posted by Adams, showed officers as they attempted to remove Clemons from the establishment.
Clemons was seated, and appeared to be holding her shirt up as she argued with an officer, the video showed.
“I heard the f-bomb and everything,” the officer calmly told her, as he tried to secure one of her hands.
“No, but that’s not what you’re gonna do to me,” Clemons said, as she pulled away from the officer. “You not gonna grab on me like that, no.”
The edited video then cut out, and resumed as two officers took the argumentative woman down onto the ground.
She attempted to roll onto her back, and continued to argue and resist the officers’ directives to comply.
"What'd I do wrong?" Clemons yelled.
"I'm about to break your arm," one officer replied, as he tried to pull Clemons' arm away from her body.
A third officer entered the frame, and calmly told Clemons that she was being placed under arrest.
The video cut out once again, and Clemons was lying on her stomach in handcuffs when the footage resumed.
Clemons’ shirt fell down during the scuffle, exposing her breasts, and further added to the controversy surrounding the video. She claimed that officers "ripped" her shirt off, although the video showed that's not true.
“You wanna come fix her clothes?” one officer asked Adams.
“No, y’all fix it!” Adams replied, and refused to help her friend.
Det. Mims said the man who was with them stepped in and offered to pull up her top, and was granted permission, and the surveillance video confirmed the story.
Police responded to complaints that the officer had threatened to break Clemons arm during her arrest, and said the allegation was untrue.
“The statement was made as a cause and effect statement not a threat,” Det. Little explained, meaning the officer was telling Clemons not to fight or she might be injured.
Despite a widespread outcry that alleged the arrest had been racially motivated, Det. Mims said his investigation determined that the entire incident resulted from the women bringing an alcoholic beverage into the Waffle House.
“Throughout the officers’ interactions with Miss Clemons, she appeared to be intoxicated. When she was booked in, she did get sick,” Det. Mims said, and showed a video of police giving Clemons a bucket to throw up in while she was waiting to be processed at the jail.
Clemons’ attorney filed an oral notice of appeal before the sentencing ended, and said he looked forward taking the case to Mobile County, WALA reported.
Watch the video of Clemons’ arrest below here: