A Texas sheriff’s deputy is facing scrutiny after he was filmed lying on a teen’s body in order to restrain her in the Deerfield Heights neighborhood of the Dallas suburb of Kaufman County on Tuesday, July 27.
A Black mother, 41-year-old Antanique Ray, was arrested, and her daughter 18-year-old, Nekia Trigg, was restrained during the recorded ordeal.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s office is currently investigating the incident, after a seven-minute video of the encounter sparked outrage after it circulated widely on social media. The sheriff’s office shared a post to Facebook the day after the incident, asking members of the public to refrain from calling the non-emergency number after numerous calls created “an unmanageable call volume.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump wrote in a statement on Twitter, “This incident was handled horribly! Why did this Kaufman County Sheriff officer need to restrain this young lady in such an inappropriate manner?!”
On July 27, deputies responded to a neighborhood following a call about someone jumping in and out of traffic and possibly being suicidal. Authorities say when the deputy responded Trigg was walking down the sidewalk crying and barefoot.
When the bystander video starts, Ray approaches as Trigg is pinned under a deputy with the name Martin on his badge. When Ray got closer, questioned what was happening, and reached out toward her daughter, Martin yelled at her to back up. “You need to back up, you need to back up!” he said, as he pinned Trigg down with his body, holding her arms against the ground as she screamed while lying on her back.
Ray said the deputy did not have to restrain her that way, and Martin responded saying she was trying to jump into traffic.
“No, she’s not!” someone replied.
Ray can be heard telling her panicked daughter to calm down. Other bystanders pleaded with Martin for him to let Trigg get up. Trigg said she couldn’t breathe at one point while another member of law enforcement spoke with Ray, expressing concerns that the teen could be suicidal.
A bystander noted that Trigg’s condition appeared to be deteriorating. “She is foaming from her mouth, she is literally foaming from her mouth,” the person said. At some point during the incident, Forney, Texas, police officers also arrived at the scene.
Martin rolled Trigg over on her stomach and he and another law enforcement officer placed her in handcuffs. Trigg was being led away when a scuffle broke out between Ray and Martin. A Forney officer held up a taser to keep bystanders at bay as Ray was arrested.
The sheriff’s office said it is investigating the incident. Ray was booked into the Kaufman County jail on charges of assault of a public servant and interference with public duties and has since been released on bond.
Trigg was transported to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
The Forney Police Department said in a statement that its officers were present but not involved in the interaction, as it was being addressed by the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office released body camera footage of the beginning of the encounter, which shows Martin approach Trigg, who is crying and walking on a sidewalk. Martin asked Trigg why she was crying and why she was barefoot as he followed her, saying he was there to make sure she was alright.
Martin grabbed Trigg’s arm at one point and said she could not walk off. Trigg appeared agitated by Martin holding her arm and asked if she could call her mom.
“I don’t want you to hurt me,” Trigg said.
“I’m not gonna hurt you,” Martin replied.
The two struggled, and Martin’s body camera fell into the grass. Family members arrived and the events recorded in the bystander footage transpired while the body camera was in the grass.
Family members of Trigg and Ray dispute the idea that the teen was jumping in and out of the street and believe the two were victims of police brutality. (The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department released a recording of a 911 caller describing the teen’s actions as jumping into traffic.)
“Of course, me and our other family members are hurt this happened to her because we know what type of person she is,” Teronica Williams, Ray’s cousin told The Dallas Morning News. “It takes one person to watch this video and devalue both her and Kia’s character and have the world thinking they deserve this and that — and that’s not fair.”
A spokesperson with the sheriff’s office said Martin “is not working” when asked whether he was still on duty.