Austin, TX — On Halloween 2021, in the neighborhood of West Campus, Austin police received a 911 call that a man had been shot. It would take Austin police officers over 50 minutes to respond to that call. The man was finally taken to the hospital and luckily he survived. 50 minutes.
To contrast the priorities of the Austin police department’s response times, we can roll back the clock just 24 hours earlier to when police received a call about a woman sleeping on a sidewalk. No one had been shot, no guns fired, just a woman, asleep, on the sidewalk.
As we originally reported, officers showed up to this scene far faster than they did when someone was shot and within minutes, unleashed a ferocious display of violence against this woman.
The woman was accused of sleeping and for this, police unleashed a storm of violence against her. That woman is now suing police, and will undoubtedly win.
“One officer held [her] down and covered his body-worn camera while the other officer brutally kneed [her] in her side,” according to the lawsuit, filed this week.
“[T]he other officer punched [her] eight times in approx. 11 seconds,” the lawsuit adds
As KXAN reported at the time, according to the arrest affidavit, Simone Nicole Griffith, 26, was seen camping/sleeping on the side of the Carousel Pediatrics-Springdale building. A security guard attempted to remove her, but she refused.
When police showed up, the woman swore at officers, telling them to “shut the f**k up! I ain’t doing nothing. I know the motherf**king law, bitch!” Her behavior — which clearly demonstrated a mental illness — prompted the original officer to then call for backup.
When the second officer arrived, they told Griffith that she was now under arrest for criminal trespass, to which she responded, “No I am not. I don’t have to get up for you. You are not the law, bitch boy.”
After she refused to get up, police then moved in to force her up and put her in handcuffs. Griffith, however, had different plans and refused to be handcuffed.
“[We] proceeded to tell [Griffith] not to resist but she kept fighting back,” the affidavit reads.
We “ultimately had to use force to apprehend her even though Nicole was already notified that she was under arrest,” the affidavit states.
The subsequent beatdown was captured on bystander video and it is nothing short of shocking. According to the video, in the beginning, Griffith does actually appear to be resisting. However, two cops are on top of her and attacking her for simply sitting on a sidewalk. To a mentally ill person, this scenario would naturally cause such a reaction.
According to the lawsuit as reported by VICE, Griffith didn’t pose a threat to anyone and was just scared of the officers. And by beating her, they allegedly violated her constitutional rights. The lawsuit also alleges Austin cops are trained to treat unhoused people like “vermin.”
“It is not reasonable for a highly trained and lethally armed police officer to interpret an unarmed, fearful, cornered, impoverished, mentally ill young woman calling him ‘bitch boy’ from a prone position on the pavement as an attack,” the lawsuit alleges.
Although she resisted in the beginning, several moments into the beating, it is completely clear that she is no longer resisting. Yet the beatdown kept coming. As both officers have her mounted like an animal, they continue to deliver knee strikes and multiple punches.
At one point in the video, we can clearly see that the only thing Griffith is doing is covering her face with her hands to stop the attacks from the two officers.
Eventually, after she’d been pummeled into submission, police put handcuffs on the woman and she is arrested. Griffith was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and criminal trespassing — for sleeping.
Luckily, all the charges were eventually dropped and Griffith is now making a recovery.
“The city of Austin’s policies in regards to mentally ill unhoused people are unconstitutional—full stop,” her attorney, Rebecca Webber said. “You cannot beat a person because they are lying down.”
Griffith’s attack above was reminiscent of the fate suffered by Marlene Pinnock on the side of a California highway. In that case, Officer Daniel Andrew mounted Pinnock and proceeded to smash her face in repeatedly.
Pinnock was so badly injured during the incident that she received a $1.5 million settlement after the fact. As for officer Andrew, he was cleared with the District Attorney’s office claiming he was “protecting” Pinnock with the multiple punches to her face.