A Waffle House customer was tackled to the ground and arrested after refusing to pay extra for utensils, according to the Washington Post. The incident took place on Sunday, less than two weeks after the arrests of two black customers at Starbucks — which also spurred protests with calls of hypocrisy directed at the coffee company — and on the same day as a shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee.
A partial video of the situation shows officers grabbing 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons’s neck and wrist. After a scuffle, her top falls off of her upper body, exposing her chest. She ends up on the floor while trying to explain the disagreement she had with employees. Clemons’s mother told Al.com that she had refused to pay an extra 50 cents for set of plastic cutlery.
“What are you doing?” Clemons asks, on the video.
“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” an officer says. The officer then puts his hand on her neck.
“You’re choking me!” Clemons says.
Protesters filled the Waffle House location in Alabama on Sunday afternoon.
The president of the Mobile, Alabama, division of the NAACP told Al.com that “in light of the current situation in our country — such as the arrest of two young black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop — we felt it was important for our members to get a first-hand account of the incident, which has now gone viral on social media locally and across the country.”
Waffle House is well-known as a 24-hour hangout that attracts people of all backgrounds, similar to Starbucks’ marketing of itself as a welcoming “third-place.”
According to the Post, it is not clear who initiated the disagreement, who called the police (the local police department didn’t return a request for comment), or how Clemons ended up on the floor. One protester was also arrested yesterday, during the sit-in.
Waffle House released a statement to local press acknowledging the incident and confirming that they are investigating it, but spokesperson Pat Warner “believes there is reason to doubt Clemons’s version of events.”