A Texas police chief has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into an arrest of a black beauty pageant contestant/law intern. Carmen S. Ponder, Miss Black Texas USA U.S. Ambassador 2016 and an intern with the Hunt County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office, claims that she was arrested by Police Chief Kerry Crews and called a “black bitch” before spending a night in jail. Ponder’s attorney, Lee Merritt, recounted the events leading up to the arrest on Facebook.
“Saturday May 20th, Ms. Black Texas (Carmen) found herself stuck behind a stop-and-go driver. After enduring several abrupt stops, lane drifting and sudden accelerations, Carmen politely signaled and went around the sporadic driver,” Merritt wrote. “She found a parking space, gathered her belongings and prepared to make a quick run into Walmart but she was stopped.”
Merritt states that the same car she avoided on the road approached her in the Walmart parking lot and began to question and curse at her. It was later revealed that the driver was Crews’ 14-year-old daughter who he was giving (illegal) driving lessons. [Ponder has since clarified that her driving didn’t only involve “stop-and-go” maneuvers but swerving in and out of the lane.]
— Carmen Sensei (@CarmenSierraaa) May 24, 2017
“Ever dignified and composed, Carmen ignored the tirade and continued into the store. Not use to being ignored, Crews continued “Whatever you Black Bitch!””
Ponder then went into the store to shop and when she came out she was approached by a plain clothes police officer who told her who Crews’ was and told her it would be in her best interest to apologize. Not intimidated, she tried to walk to her car before the officer stopped her and told her she was under arrest.
To be safe and sure, she called the police herself. When the next group of officers arrived, they convened with the plain clothes officer and were told she was evading arrest.
The entire incident has resulted in controversy as it could be a prime example of a police chief using their position of power to unfairly punish anyone they see fit. To combat this narrative, the City of Commerce has released a statement telling a very different story.
“Unfortunately, as an official representative of ‘Black Texas,’ Carmen’s story embodies the black experience with law enforcement,” Merritt told The Root. “It is our responsibility to address this reality with sobriety and commitment. We demand justice in this case and will seek it from every possible angle.”
— Meredith Yeomans (@YeomansNBC5) May 25, 2017
“Though not on duty and present only as a customer, Police Chief Kerry Crews became engaged in an incident after being approached by one of the parties,” reads the statement. “Chief Kerry Crews made contact with the other party, but she failed to comply with his requests. As a result, she was arrested for evading arrest or detention when the responding arrived. She was then taken to the Hunt County Jail.”
There’s noticeably no mention of who was driving or Crews daughter in the entire statement. It does state, however, that an outside organization is investigating the incident to prevent any bias.