A Texas beauty queen claims she was wrongfully arrested and detained overnight due to her race.
Cameron Ponder, who won Miss Black Texas 2016, said that while driving to Wal-Mart on Saturday when a black truck cut her off. She then passed the truck to enter the Wal-Mart parking lot.
The driver of the black truck, whom Ponder believed to be City of Commerce Chief Kerry Crews, allegedly got out of the car and berated her. He said he was teaching his 14-year-old daughter how to drive. Ponder said it was illegal to do that; according to Ponder, Crews replied, "Oh whatever, you black b----."
When Ponder came out of the store, Crews was there with a group of people. Crews asked Ponder to apologize to the police chief -- and when she didn't, he arrested her.
Ponder was arrested and held for 24 hours for evading arrest. Now, she is calling for Crews to be fired.
The City of Commerce released a statement to NBC 5, where it says that Crews' account is not the same as Ponder's:
On May 20, 2017, the Commerce Police Department responded to a call about a dispute between two motorists entering the Walmart parking lot. Though not on duty and present only as a customer, Police Chief Kerry Crews became engaged in the incident after being approached by one of the parties. Chief 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 with the responding officer arrived. She was then taken to the Hunt County Jail.
Since the incident, there have been a number of statements made about the details of the incident, and many of these details do not align with the statements provided by Chief Crews and the responding officer. As such, the City is engaging an outside entity to conduct an investigation into the incident to objectively review and determine the facts.
For the benefit of the investigation, and in keeping with common practice, Chief Crews will be placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. This is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing and should not be perceived as a disciplinary action. The work of the Commerce Police Department is essential to the community, and it is beneficial to both Chief Crews, the officers, and the City to allow him to serve without the distraction of an investigation clouding his day-to-day management of the department. Disciplinary action, if warranted, cannot be taken until after the investigation has concluded.
At this time, the City of Commerce will hold all additional comments until the investigation has progressed.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Ponder's attorney Lee Merritt said that the man who harassed her may not have been Crews. Crews, though, was nonetheless on the scene and what happened was a "clear abuse of authority and violations of Ms. Ponder's civil rights."
The City of Commerce will hire a private firm to investigate the incident. Crews is currently on administrative leave.