The attorney for a young, Black woman who was aggressively manhandled by police officers after the cops were called on her by Waffle House employees, has filed a lawsuit against the popular restaurant on behalf of his client. The news, reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, comes more than 18 months after the incident was caught on video and went viral on social media.
Benjamin Crump made the announcement on Wednesday at a press conference in Atlanta. The basis of the lawsuit centers on the treatment of Black women by Waffle House. Crump and his client Chikesia Clemons claim there is a “pattern and practice of racism and discrimination against African Americans” at the chain of diner-like restaurants known for their breakfast offerings. Crump attributes that to the reason why Clemons, then 25, was assaulted and partially disrobed at the location in Saraland, Alabama on Apri 22, 2018.
Clemons alleges that the restaurant employees made a false claim against her which led to her interaction with the police.
Though she was found guilty of resisting arrest, she was found not guilty of disorderly conduct and an Alabama judge suspended her jail time. Still, the treatment she endured at the hands of the police has left her with long-lasting trauma, as noted in the suit. The claim also asks that a judge require Waffle House to establish policies that will end racial discrimination.
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On their end, Waffle House spokesperson Pat Warner told the AJC, “As we’ve said previously, we regret this incident happened at all.” He continued via an email statement, “As anyone who has dined with us knows, we have a very diverse customer base and workforce. We have had a culture of inclusion since we opened our doors in 1955, and are very proud of the fact that our restaurants have been open to all.”
Clemons is suing for unspecified damages.