Grand Jury: No Charges against Jasper, Texas, Cops

A grand jury refuses to indict fired police officers caught in a controversial video.

Here is the footage that started the controversy:

In this case, the two policemen in the video were fired along with another who conducted a strip search, even though they are facing no criminal charges.

Via the Beaumont Enterprise:

A Jasper County grand jury cleared two former police officers who were caught on video manhandling a woman inside the police station last year.

Ricky Grissom and Ryan Cunningham will not face criminal charges for their role in the May 5, 2013, incident.

Police station surveillance video showed the officers wrestling Keyarika Diggles to the ground while dispatcher Lindsey Davenport watched. One of the officers grabbed a handful of Diggles hair and slammed her against the police station counter. Together they dragged her by her feet into a darkened holding cell.

Diggles, who was arrested on suspicion of unpaid traffic tickets, claimed she was left on the floor for hours without medical attention and subjected to a strip search.

diggles of jasper

What I find interesting about the case is why this woman was arrested in the first place. According to the For Harriet blog:

[T]he case was troubling because Cunningham and Grissom had arrested Diggles at home that morning for nothing more than an unpaid traffic ticket. And the ticket wasn’t quite unpaid—the single mother of two had been paying down her debt in monthly installments. Even after those payments, she still owed $100 at the time Grissom and Cunningham knocked on her door—but it’s still not clear why they’d chosen to arrest her that day.

So it looks like, just as I wrote elsewhere today, this started as another problem started by the government’s reinvention of debtors prison. Once again, as I have written about, we have the penalty for being poor turning into jail time and a really nasty experience at the hands of former police officers—to what extent, if any, provoked, we can’t be sure (though professional standards should still prohibit unnecessary violence).

In civil court, Diggles won seventy-five thousand dollars, naming the three fired cops as well as five others in the lawsuit.