A Black family in Ohio was pepper sprayed and violently arrested by police officers at a public pool on June 9. During the altercation, part of which was captured on witness video, a 12-year-old girl suffered a fractured jaw and broken ribs after being restrained by an officer.
According to the family’s testimony, Krystal Dixon, 33, took her children, nieces and nephews to a Fairfield, Ohio public pool. However, pool employees demanded that the group leave because one of the young boys did not have swim trunks. Dixon, who is six-months pregnant, went home to retrieve the trunks, but when she returned to the pool, employees said that the boy had broken the rules by swimming in his clothes. The staff asked the family to leave, telling Dixon that the teens acted inappropriately when they told the boy that he had violated the rules.
As Dixon and the children walked to the parking lot, the family says a police officer approached her and demanded to see her ID. The officer allegedly grabbed Dixon's arm, prompting the kids to demand they let her go. It is unclear how the situation escalated, but the witness video shows police officers pepper spraying Dixon and her family members. The video also shows one officer grabbing the 12-year-old girl by her neck and pushing her against a squad car. Family members said at a press conference yesterday that the girl suffered a fractured jaw and broken ribs.
The girl was arrested and charged with assault and resisting arrest, along with Dixon, another adult, and a 15-year-old who were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
"They're saying a 12-year-old was assaulting somebody and resisting being arrested?" said National Action Network activist Bishop Bobby Hilton to the The Daily Beast. "Please tell me, where is she assaulting somebody? Why did the officer have to grab her by the neck and push her against the car? It's just not right."
Fairfield police officers told the Beast that they did not use excessive force, but rather "great restraint," claiming that the teens jumped on their backs after they approached Dixon.
"I could surmise or opine on why [pool staff] wanted [the family] out," Dixon family attorney Clyde Bennett told the Beast. "They said they're not appropriately dressed. I'm not convinced that's why they wanted them out of the pool…There's a lot of people in Cincinnati who believe they wanted them out because they were Black."
The Fairfield mayor, Steve Miller, told a Cincinnati newspaper that his office was conducting an investigation into the incident, but that based on the surveillance video that he saw, he supported the officers’ actions.