Jasper city official: 2 former officers accused of excessive force are 'bullies with badges'

Photo courtesy of: KJAS
Photo courtesy of: KJAS
Photo courtesy of: KJAS
Photo courtesy of: KJAS
Photo courtesy of: KJAS
Photo courtesy of: KJAS

JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Two Jasper Police officers were fired Monday after surveillance video showed them using what appears to be excessive force while booking a woman into jail.

That woman's attorney says he's glad they were fired, but this is just the beginning.

East Texas News went to Jasper Tuesday to talk with city officials about the incident.

Alton Scott, a Jasper city councilman, said former police officers Ryan Cunningham and Ricky Grissom are "bullies with badges."

"Sometimes things are not always what they appear to be, and when I got the video, now old folks say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when I looked at the video, it spoke volumes," Scott said.

Jasper Mayor Mike Lout said the city council unanimously voted to terminate both officers' employment at a specially called meeting Monday morning.

"It's not good," Lout said. "It can't happen, and we've taken the steps to see that it doesn't happen again."

The surveillance video from the booking room in the jail shows Grissom and Cunningham slamming 25-year-old Keyarika Diggles' head into the counter, pushing her to the floor, and then dragging the handcuffed Diggles by the ankle into a cell.

"It's just a traumatic, traumatic event that no human being regardless of color or race should have to go through," said Cade Bernsen, Diggles' attorney.

However, Bernsen said the city council's decision to fire the two officers was too little, too late.

"You know they fired the police officers, and I think they were put in a situation where they had to," Bernsen said. "I don't think they did it for the right reasons, but we'll take it."

When asked if he thought the officers' actions were racially motivated, Scott said, "Yes, I do."

Lout disagreed.

"One of the officers had just received some time off with pay and disciplinary action for the way he treated three white people," Lout said.

Benson said the officers need to be charged with a crime and prosecuted, just like any other person.

"I don't trust the Jasper Police Department as far as I can throw them," Bernsen said.

The case has been placed on Jasper County District Attorney Steve Hollis' desk, and he will decide if criminal charges should be filed.

Bernsen said in addition to wanting Grissom and Cunningham charged and prosecuted...he is filing a civil lawsuit against the Jasper Police Department.

Here is the link to one of the videos, both of which were posted to You Tube.

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