The racially-charged tensions in the town of Jasper, Texas, became a little more strained recently after two white police officers were fired for mistreating a black woman while she was in custody.
The incident occurred May 5 at the Jasper police headquarters and was caught on surveillance video. The video shows Keyarika "Shea" Diggles, who was brought in because of a fine she owed the police department, having a verbal altercation with a police officer. Then, another police officer appears and the two shove Diggles’ head into the counter and pull her by her hair to the floor. Diggles is then dragged by the ankles into a holding cell.
“The amount of force used was abominable,” said Cade Bernsen, Diggles’ attorney, to Yahoo News.
Allegedly, the altercation began when Diggles was attempting to call her mother for the $100 she owed; that's when, reportedly, Officer Ricky Grissom cut off the call and cornered her. The video does not include audio, so it is unclear what was said.
Once Diggles was cornered, the second officer, Ryan Cunningham, came at her from behind and attempted to cuff her as they both slammed her head into the countertop.
“She got her hair pulled out, broke a tooth, braces got knocked off … it was brutal,” Bernsen said.
Diggles was then charged with resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped on Monday.
The police brutality in this case strikes close to home as the town remembers (to the week of this incident) the horrific death of James Byrd Jr.
Byrd, a black man, was killed as part of an infamous, racially-charged hate crime in Jasper when three white men tied a rope around his neck and dragged him behind their pickup until he was decapitated.
“The more things change, the more they remain the same,” Jasper City Council Member Alton Scott said of the Jasper's racial issues.