Saraland, AL – Authorities have fully investigated allegations surrounding the arrest of an irate woman at an Alabama Waffle House on Sunday morning, and determined the altercation had nothing to do with race, despite reports saying otherwise, and that the police officers did nothing wrong (video below).
A cell phone video captured the arrest of 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons, as she 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.
At a press conference on Monday, Saraland Police Chief J.C. West said he’d asked detectives to do a quick and thorough investigation, and that all their findings would be presented.
During the presentation, Saraland Police Detective Collette Little showed surveillance video from multiple different angles in the restaurant from the time 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons arrived with Canita Adams shortly after 2:30 a.m. on April 22, until Clemons was removed from the restaurant in handcuffs by police.
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 became upset with the employee who took her order told her 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.
Disturbingly, the altercation at the Saraland Waffle House was taking place at about the same time that a naked gunman was murdering four people in a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.
“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. Claims were that officers "ripped" her shirt off, although the video shows 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 at the press conference, as they showed a video of police giving Clemons a bucket to throw up in while she was waiting to be processed at the jail.
Det. Mims said he tried to interview both women for his investigation; however, Clemons had skipped her appointment with him. Adams had not responded to attempts to reach her, he said.
Clemons was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Her mother posted her $1,000 bond later on Sunday.
On Sunday evening, ahead of the press conference, Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner said that although the incident was still under investigation, the company was “strongly” supporting the Saraland Police Department’s actions during the altercation, The Birmingham News reported.
"[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," Warner explained.
Protesters convened outside the Waffle House on Sunday afternoon, which resulted in the arrest of one man, The Birmingham News reported.
"I’m angry yes, because it keeps happening," one protester told KOMO.
"No justice no peace, no racist police," another said.
Clemons' friend spread more lies about the incident.
"Then they had her on the dirty floor with a gun to her head. That's not how you treat our children. Injustice to one is injustice to all. We have to stop spending our money where they don't want our business at," said Shemeca Crawford, told WTOL.
The video shows that officers never drew a gun.
You can see the video of the incident below.: