Society

Grand Jury Clears Two Texas Police Officers Of Brutality Despite Video

| by Jared Keever

A Texas grand jury declined to indict two former Jasper police officers who were caught on video assaulting a woman inside the police station last year. 

The Beaumont Enterprise reports white officers Ricky Grissom and Ryan Cunningham will not face criminal charges for the May 5, 2013, incident in which they were recorded slamming a black woman’s head into a desk and dragging her across the floor. 

Overhead surveillance cameras recorded the violent assault of Keyarika Diggles. 

The case became a centerpiece of the ongoing racial tension in the Texas town, according to The Texas Observer.

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Among the troubling aspects of the case was that the officers arrested Diggles for little more than unpaid parking tickets the day of the assault. Diggles had reportedly been paying down her debt to the city and owed only about $100 the day the officers showed up at her door to arrest her.

The video of the incident clearly shows the two officers violently manhandling Diggles before they dragged the handcuffed woman to a so-called detox cell. Her attorneys said she spent hours in the dark cell before she was eventually strip-searched by a female officer.

The Jasper City Council later voted to fire Grissom and Cunningham. 

Diggles settled a civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the city last December for $75,000.

Her attorney, Cade Bernsen, said he was disappointed the prosecutor was unable to secure an indictment in the incident. 

That failure came despite the support of Mayor Mike Lout, who promised to work with the district attorney while exploring the possibility of criminal charges. 

“The law is the law for everyone, and just because you have a badge on doesn’t mean you have the right to break the law, or do something wrong,” Lout said at the time.

Bernsen expressed disbelief the grand jury declined to indict Grissom and Cunningham  given the video evidence. 

“We are shocked by the failure of the prosecutor to get an indictment,” Bernsen said. “I'm wondering what investigation was done because the video speaks for itself.”

Sources: The Beaumont EnterpriseThe Texas Observer / Photo Credit: The Texas Observer