MOBILE, Ala. – Police officers in a south Alabama city mistreated a black woman who was thrown down and arrested during a videotaped confrontation in a Waffle House restaurant, an attorney for her family said Wednesday.
Officers who were called by restaurant workers in Saraland, Alabama, following a confrontation "brutalized" Chikesia Clemons by threatening to break her arm and throwing her to the floor, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump told a news conference.
At least one of Clemons' breasts was exposed during the melee, which was captured on video by a friend. Her treatment fits a pattern of black people being mistreated by businesses and police, Crump said.
"People of color should be respected and valued as customers. If the Waffle House Corporation won't respect customers of color, then maybe those customers of color should go elsewhere where they are respected and valued," Crump said.
Saraland police previously defended their actions by saying an intoxicated Clemons brought liquor into the Waffle House, became disruptive with workers and threatened to shoot up the restaurant, prompting workers to call for help.
Waffle House has said officers' involvement at the restaurant was justified.
Crump said the situation began when workers tried to charge Clemons for plastic eating utensils. Crump asked for state and federal investigations of what he called civil rights violations and a "clear show of excessive force" by police in Saraland.
The Mobile area branch of the NAACP has called Clemons' arrest a "serious civil rights case."