Two Jasper, Texas, police officers have been fired after video surfaced of a beating that they administered to a black woman inside the Jasper City Jail, as reported by BlueBlackDog.com.
The beating was so brutal that the woman's braces were knocked out of her mouth and she suffered a severely chipped tooth.
Keyarika “Shea” Diggles, 25, a black woman, was beaten by two white Jasper policemen May 5 after being hauled to jail for a $100 unpaid fine, according to YahooNews.
The attached video (no sound) shows the following:
After being taken to jail, Diggles was on the jailhouse telephone talking to her mother.
According to Cade Bernsen, Diggles' attorney, the mother and daughter were trying to figure out how to pay the $100. After only a couple of minutes, Officer Ricky Grissom walked up to Diggles and cut off the call using his finger.
Diggles appeared to verbally object to being cut off. Diggles and Grissom apparently engaged in a back-and-forth discussion/argument for about one minute.
At this point, Officer Ryan Cunningham came up behind her and began to handcuff her.
The video shows that she appears to raise one hand. Cunningham grabbed Diggles by her hair, and began to pull her head-first across the room. He shoves her body into a counter and then forcefully slams her whole head down and onto the countertop.
The two officers then proceed to manhandle and wrestle Diggles hard to the floor – as if they were subduing a wayward Texas steer.
While flat on her face, she is handcuffed. The two men then try to drag her by her ankles toward a closed jail cell. A shoe comes off, sending one of the officers careening backwards.
An unidentified white female appears, walks across the scene, and holds open the cell door. The two men drag and push Diggles (with only one shoe on) into the cell.
As stated, there is no audio to this video. But there are actually two perspectives of the video presented here. The first is in color and does not show the full-on assault against this woman – although you cannot mistake what is happening to her.
The second half of the video (black and white) provides the full measure of brutality involved here. You will also see that the white female, who at first seems to appear out of nowhere, is actually just off-camera watching the whole thing go down. She does nothing to help Diggles. But she holds the cell door open so that the men may more easily shove her into the jail cell.
Diggles was charged by these two officers with “resisting arrest” because she “argued” with them. Attorney Bernsen told YahooNews that that charge was dropped on Monday.
“She got her hair pulled out, broke a tooth, braces got knocked off … it was brutal,” said Bernsen.
It was only after the video was released to the public that the police department fired the two officers.
Jasper City Council Member Alton Scott obtained the video and gave it to a local TV station. He did so, he said, after he discovered that Diggles' written complaint against the officers, the department and the city was being ignored or trying to be “swept under the rug.”
He told YahooNews that Jasper, Texas has a long history of troubled “race relations.”
It is not just Jasper, Texas.
Next month I am supposed to travel to Houston to visit relatives for the 4th of July holiday. I say that I am “supposed to,” because I have a longstanding, deep and abiding fear of that state. As the date for my departure approaches, I am thinking seriously, more and more, about canceling the whole idea.
Texas particularly, as does most of the “Deep South” generally, has a well deserved reputation for bigotry and maltreatment of black people.
The 1998 James Byrd dragging-lynching is still fresh in my mind. To learn more about that “incident,” see the “References” section below.
Recall that recently Texas has rewritten and revised its public school text books in order to present a more sanguine picture of black slavery.
Texas not only has one of the country's highest incarceration rates, but is also a “leader” in executions as well.
And, since President Barack Obama's re-election last year, the state of Texas has made repeated, aggressive calls, and actual overtures, to secede entirely from this nation-state and set up its own “country.”
And so I may have to join my Texas relatives by Skype rather than in person.