The gut-wrenching video of three White, male Saraland police officers in Mobile, Alabama body slamming and wrestling 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons to the ground early Sunday morning not only went viral on social media, but immediately sparked outrage.
In the cell phone footage, officers can be seen choking Clemons at a Waffle House restaurant and doing nothing to shield her exposed breasts as her strapless dress became undone in the scuffle.
Clemons can be heard pleading, asking officers, what she did she do wrong. In turn, one officer can be heard threatening to break her arm if she didn’t comply with his commands. Her only crime—asking for plastic utensils in order to eat a take-out meal.
The trauma of that night has left Clemons shaken to her core. In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Chikesia Clemons speaks out for the first time about her violent arrest and how she’s coping with the emotional humiliation and physical assault she experienced just a few days ago.
“It has been so hard for me. I have been in pain. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. In fact, I haven’t really slept since the night it happened. I have bruises all over,” said Clemons, during our telephone interview from her home in Mobile. “I’m grateful for the support of my family and Mr. Crump. I’m constantly breaking down and crying. I have a six-year old daughter. She sees me crying and then she starts to cry.”
Clemons, who has retained the services of famed Civil Right attorney Benjamin Crump, is unable to speak directly about the incident until the criminal charges against her —disorderly conduct and resisting arrest—are settled. Crump held a press conference in Mobile on Wednesday to address the arrest and present two, new eyewitness accounts that contradict what the Saraland police have presented.
“We declare to the Waffle House Corporation and the Saraland Police Department that is unacceptable the way they assaulted her, the way they threatened this unarmed Black woman the way they body slammed this unarmed Black woman and the way they brutalized this unarmed Black woman,” said Crump standing alongside Clemons’ mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard and attorney Marcus Foxx.
Crump is no stranger to these types of high-profile, racially tinged cases. He has represented the family of Trayvon Martin and is currently also representing the family of Stephon Clark, the young, Black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers in his grandmother’s backyard last month. He can hand-pick any case he wants to take on, but he tells theGrio that Chikesia Clemons’ case was particularly important to him.