Tensions are high in North Texas after a violent encounter between a police officer and a Black teenage girl named Nekia Trigg was caught on camera. Posted to Instagram, the seven-minute appears to show Kauffman County Police Officer Conner Martin laying on top of Trigg as her mother attempts to intervene. Eventually, the teenage girl's mother, Antonique Ray, is also taken down and handcuffed.
"My daughter is saying, 'Mom, I can't breathe, he's, on my stomach, I cannot breathe.' It's 102 degrees outside," Ray said at a press conference last week.
"She reached for me, I grabbed her hand because I'm her mother, if she reaches for me, I'm going to grab her hand every time."
As video of the encounter made its way through Instagram and other social media platforms, the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office released body camera footage of the incident. In the video, an officer is seen approaching Trigg and asking her questions about where she is going. Answering his questions, Trigg tells the officer that she is on her way home and hopes to avoid any physical interactions. In response, the officer tells her that he is responding to a call about a girl jumping in front of cars in an attempt to hurt herself. From there, the officer grabs her arm and instructs her not to walk away from him. Over the next few minutes, the encounter escalates into what is seen in the video below.
***The video below violent/graphic material***
Trigg's family attorney, Kim T. Cole, has pushed back against the material put forth by the police.
"This officer, who repeatedly stated that she was at harm, that she was trying to harm herself, and if this was in fact the case, and it wasn't -- let me make that clear -- it wasn't, but if it was, imagine as a parent your child calls you and says, 'Mom I'm in danger from an officer,'" Cole said.
"Officers are here to serve and protect, and if he was doing his duty, if he thought that Nekia was trying to harm herself, throwing her to the ground and sitting on her chest was not the way to fix that."
Making matters worse, Cole says that she was recently informed that Martin had tested positive for COVID-19 near the time of the encounter. Thankfully, Trigg and Ray have not tested positive for the virus yet. However, the fallout from the incident continues to affect their daily lives. Ray was forced to miss five days of work due to contact tracing protocols and Trigg's family was forced to temporarily relocate due to mounting death threats.
The Kauffman County Sheriff's Office has opened an investigation regarding the matter and Martin has reportedly been placed on administrative leave.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.