Last year Chikesia Clemons made headlines when her violent Waffle House arrest on April 22, 2018, went viral, after she visited the fast food chain with a group of friends in Saraland, Alabama. The incident escalated near the end of Clemons’ visit after she got into a heated argument with the restaurant chain, allegedly over plastic cutlery.
Since that time Clemons, 26, has shared that she’s faced public and private scrutiny, sexual harassment and PTSD over the incident, which has since been shared thousands of times on social media. In the video, Clemons found herself in a vulnerable state, having her breasts exposed while she was restrained by three officers.
Last July Clemons was found guilty in Saraland Municipal Court of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Clemons, along with her legal team, appealed the ruling and was granted a retrial.
In August, she was found not guilty of disorderly conduct but guilty of resisting arrest during when the jury returned a split verdict.
On Wednesday, Clemons was initially sentenced to six months in jail, one-year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine, AL.com reports. However, the judge suspended the six months sentence.
“We’re pleased with a portion of the results. We’ve been working on behalf of Ms. Clemons diligently for weeks at a time now. We will be filing a judgment notwithstanding verdict for that second charge, that being the resisting arrest,” said Marcus Foxx, Clemons’ attorney, according to WKRG.
Clemons, who is also the mother of a young Black girl, shared her thoughts regarding her sentencing on social media and promised to continue the fight through the court of appeals.
“I been realized this is a Political Game but Today confirmed it! Today I was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 6 months 1 year probation with 500 dollars fine plus court cost and fees!,” she wrote. “Yea a bunch of bull but like I stated from the beginning I won’t backed down nor give up I deserve to be free with no penalty! Appeal will be filed I don’t care who don’t like it!!!!!”
A fundraiser to help Clemons offset her fine was initiated by Ify Ike, a lawyer and former candidate for Public Advocate in New York City.
“I’m calling for folks to simply put ‘$5 on it’ in response to the egregious sentence in Alabama I’m response to the aggressive, brutal and dehumanizing nature we all witnessed on social media,” Ike wrote on Instagram. “I believe she will fight this, but that too will cost money.”
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I’ve never done this before, the public cashapp thing. But after hearing the verdict and reaching out to @chikesiaclemons I feel like this is the only way I can be productive in light of this disturbing news. I’m calling for folks to simply put “$5 on it” in response to the egregious sentence in Alabama I’m response to the aggressive, brutal and dehumanizing nature we all witnessed on social media. I believe she will fight this, but that too will cost money. @youngturq and I talk at length about how all communities look the other way at dark, Black bodies. Let’s not do that today. Stay strong Sis Chikesia #JusticeforChikesia #Igot5onit
Clemons’ arrest still resonates with Black communities and activists across America as the mistreatment of Black women by law enforcement is still a largely ignored issue, globally and domestically. Although Clemons was able to avoid jail time, she will have serious restrictions placed on her due to her probation status.
Because of Clemons’s sentence, we should think of all the ways the prison system enforces systemic oppression and the lack of healthy alternatives to help rehabilitate affected communities.
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