A video recently uploaded to Facebook shows Texas deputies responding to a call about males fighting in the parking lot of a Whataburger burger joint and then arresting a pair of female teenagers inside who had nothing to do with the fight.
Bexar County sheriff’s deputies arrested one girl as she was sitting down to a meal of chicken strips and fries, throwing her food on the floor.
They then arrested her friend after she walked up and placed a hat on her handcuffed friend’s head.
Meanwhile, witnesses were expressing disbelief at what they were seeing.
“They were paying customers and were not violating any laws when they were taken into custody. As seen in the video, one of the officers threw Vanae’s food to the ground and immediately escalated the situation, which was not necessary,” attorney Daryl Washington who is now representing the Wright family, told News4SanAntonio.
After a pair of Bexar County sheriff deputies arrived to break up the fight, several people ran inside.
Seventeen-year-old Vanae Wright and her friend Leilani Green hadn’t been involved in the ruckus and were about to sit down to enjoy the food they’d just bought when deputies approached them.
“When the kids ran in, I guess the police didn’t know who was who, and instead of them finding out, they just automatically attempted to clear the whole restaurant,” said Vaughn Wright, Vanae Wright’s father.
The video footage begins showing Vanae Wright sitting by herself in the corner of the restaurant with Bexer County sheriff’s deputy Cynthia Hernandez standing over her.
Hernandez tosses Vanae’s food on the floor and then handcuffs her.
That’s when Vanae’s friend Leilani Green tried to put Vanae’s hat back on her head before she was taken to jail, which apparently upset Hernandez’s partner, a male deputy, who proceeded to arrest her as well.
James Keith, Bexar county’s spokesperson, said the deputies had asked Wright to leave, but claimed she refused. Wright claims she had permission from an employee to stay and finish her meal, although the restaurant’s general manager stated he asked everyone inside to leave.
He also claimed around 100 people were in the parking lot, but the video indicates that could be an exaggeration.
After Wright was apprehended, a friend called her mother informing her of the arrest. When Wright’s parents arrived, they asked what happened and if the girls could be released into their custody.
According to Vanae’s father, deputy Hernandez responded that she didn’t care for Vanae’s attitude and told the Wrights they raised their daughter to be disrespectful.
“The bottom line is I don’t think my daughter moved fast enough,” Wright stated. “My daughter’s story is, she was putting all her fries and her chicken strips in the box and getting her drink so that she could get out.”
Vance’s attorney suggested the ordeal traumatized his client.
“In a matter of seconds, the lives of these two young ladies were placed into the hands of a group of overzealous officers. There is simply no way for them to ever forget that moment in time when they were treated like hardcore criminals,” Washington explained.
“It has been extremely difficult for the young ladies to handle this incident which has now been viewed throughout the media. Officers are paid to protect and serve, not arrest innocent individuals.”
“They weren’t fighting. They weren’t during anything but eating in Whataburger,” insisted Vanae’s mother Toni Wright.
“I am grateful they didn’t shoot her. They didn’t kill her. They didn’t hurt her,” she added. “I am confused at the lack of respect that the police had for me when I am trying to be a concerned mother.”
An activist group SATX4, that seeks to end systemic racism held various protests in San Antonio in support the two teens.
The grassroots organization created an online petition, which has several thousand signatures calling for Hernandez to be fired, but it contains no telephone contact details.
Daryl Washington said he wasn’t certain exactly which legal route he would take, but would consider all legal remedies possible.
Below are two videos, one from inside the restaurant, the other from both outside and inside the restaurant of the arrest, but from a different angle.
Shits so wild tonight. pic.twitter.com/GsoiET84Ku
— Joseph (@Trap_j0seph) September 3, 2016