“The only reason Ms. Clemons was subjected to this assault [by police] was because Waffle House employees falsely reported her and her friends as being drunk,” the suit says. “The employees called the police based on racial animus not out of fear for their safety or that of their customers.”
Pat Warner, a corporate spokesman for Waffle House, said the restaurant was in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.
“As we’ve said previously, we regret this incident happened at all,” Warner wrote in an email to the AJC. “As anyone who has dined with us knows, we have a very diverse customer base and workforce. We have had a culture of inclusion since we opened our doors in 1955, and are very proud of the fact that our restaurants have been open to all.”
In August, an Alabama jury returned a split verdict on the charges filed against Clemons in connection with the incident: not guilty of disorderly conduct, guilty of resisting arrest.
She was sentenced to six months in prison and a year of probation, but Mobile County Judge Brandy Hambright suspended the jail time, according to news reports.
In her new lawsuit, Clemons says she lost her job as a result of the incident and suffers from back pain and emotional distress. The suit asks for unspecified damages and for a judge to order Waffle House “to adopt and enforce policies that end racial discrimination at its restaurants.”
It suggests that such policies be developed, approved and monitored in collaboration with the National Council for Incarcerated Women and Girls.