'She's owed an apology': Father of woman arrested at Alabama Waffle House

Police arrested a woman who refused to pay 50 cents for plastic utensils.

April 23, 2018, 7:37 PM

When a woman dining at a Waffle House refused to pay 50 cents extra for plastic utensils, she ended up tackled on the ground by Alabama police officers, according to the woman's stepfather and recorded video of the incident.

A day after bailing out his stepdaughter, Lamar Howard told ABC News he is proud of his daughter's restraint, and had he been with her he wouldn't have been able to control his emotions.

"I would have gone to jail first," he said. "And I might have ended up shot or dead.”

Chikesia Clemons, 25, who goes by "Kiki," sat down near the front of the restaurant, and is then shown on video shot by a friend being aggressively taken to the ground by two Saraland police officers, who pulled on her clothing and exposed her chest.

Clemons' father said that his daughter had dined at the establishment a week before and was given plastic utensils for free.

"Kiki was there with her friend and they had no problem being given the plastic," he said. "That's why when the lady made a big deal about it and said it was 'an extra 50 cents' they complained."

Clemons also asked for Waffle House's corporate phone number so she could call and lodge a formal complaint, shortly after which the situation turned hostile, Howard told ABC News.

"The call to cops was for some black women in the restaurant," Howard said, noting that his daughter was one of the few black women in the eatery, and that it was her friend who was outside making the biggest fuss, not his daughter. "In the south, they stereotype all black people as looking alike."

"She's owed an apology, just like the two men in the Starbucks," he added, referring to Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson who last week were paraded out of a Philadelphia Starbucks in handcuffs.

The Saraland Police Department put out a statement following the altercation. The department didn't respond to multiple inquiries from ABC News for additional comments.

"The situation is being thoroughly reviewed and is under active investigation right now," the statement said. "Our department strives for transparency and we encourage our community to be aware of current events."

Waffle House did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.

When police arrived, Clemons is seated, and her friend recording the video can be heard saying, "She asked for the corporate number." The officer approached and began to pull her toward the ground as she refused to be taken into custody.

"I'm sitting here, and you're talking crazy to me," she said, as the cop began to grab her arms. "You're not going to grab on me like that. No."

From here, the friend recording on her phone said, "Come on KiKi, let's just go outside."

As the cop continued to try handcuffing Clemons, another officer appeared.

With her top down, revealing her bare chest, Clemons yelled at both officers: "What did I do? Why are you doing this to me?"

Clemons said she was having trouble breathing, at one point, saying, "You're choking me," which promoted the second officer to respond: "I'm about to break your arm, that's what I'm about to do."

That officer also said Clemons shouldn't be fighting back.

"You're resisting," he said multiple times.

Clemons countered, "No I'm not."

The video ends with Clemons, her chest still exposed, getting handcuffed by both officers and one of them asking the friend filming: "Can you come fix her clothes?"

She was taken to a local police station and charged with disorderly conduct. Howard told ABC News he paid $150 of her $1,500 bail to free her. She's due back in court in June.

Saraland police have reached out to discuss the matter, but Howard told ABC News "we want to have a lawyer sitting with us."

David Smith, president of the Mobile County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement that he and fellow members "were disturbed by the way Saraland police officers handled Ms. Clemons during their encounter at the Waffle House."

As the family regroups, Howard said he's concerned about how the trauma affects his daughter as well as her 4-year-old daughter.

"She's going to need counseling," he said of his daughter. "She's been crying and shaken -- her nerves are really bad right now."