At this point, stories of police brutality aren’t even that surprising. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention. Last month, two white police officers in Jasper, Texas were fired after using excessive force in what appears to be an unwarranted arrest of 25 year old, Keyarika Diggles.
Diggles was arrested for not paying a $150 traffic ticket. When she arrived at the station, the officers allowed her to use the phone to call her mother and request money for the ticket. During the conversation, officer Ricky Grissom got impatient and ended the call. When Diggles got off the phone she told the officers that she would only be able to pay a portion of the ticket. For whatever reason, this fact sent officer Grissom over the edge. He started yelling. ‘I’ve been waiting here all this time when I could have been out patrolling, waiting on you. This is stupid,’
And then cussing. Diggles replied “You don’t have to yell at me.” And that was when things escalated.
Grissom slammed Diggles up against the wall, while the station surveillance camera recorded the whole incident. From there, officer Ryan Cunningham came from behind and slammed Diggles head into the countertop. They force her to the ground, handcuff her and eventually drag her by her ankle into a nearby cell.
Diggles attorney, Cade Bernsen, said at the end of the ordeal she had lost some hair, broke a tooth and had one of her braces knocked off. The attorney described the amount of force used as abominable and brutal.
This is not Jasper’s first incident of violence that seems to be motivated by race. The city is also known for the infamous James Byrd Jr case of 1998, where Byrd, an African American man, was tied to the back of a pickup truck, dragged and eventually decapitated by two white supremacists.
Diggles said, “It’s a different part of the world, man, it’s crazy,”
Diggles, her family, her attorney, the media and community members all rallied together to make sure this situation to disappear into the background. And after the police department conducted an investigation, the two officers were relieved of their duties and Diggles “resisting arrest” charges were dropped.
Watch Diggles recount the incident along with the surveillance video on the next page.