“The guards lied and the judge believed them. They said they had a right to do what they did and the judge sided with them. I can’t stop now. I have to fight this.” – Clinton Kirker, owner operator
Olive Branch, Mississippi – The trucker who was forcibly detained, along with his wife, at a Mississippi shipper last September, was found guilty of Disorderly Conduct-Interfering With Business by a DeSoto County judge on Thursday.
Clinton Kirker, along with his wife Shannon, were aggressively detained by security guards at the Metro Foods distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, on September 11, 2018. Late last year Kirker released security footage of the incident which was obtained through his attorney. The release of the video set off a storm of controversy inside the trucking community.
Shocking Video Of Trucker And Wife Brutalized By Security Guards While Picking Up A Load, Then ArrestedWhat Happened?Kirker says he and his wife Shannon arrived to the Metro Foods distribution center to pick up a load. Upon arriving to the security gate, Kirker says he and his wife were asked to produce their identification. A few minutes later he says, “they told my wife to step out of the truck.”Kirker then says, “They asked me to step out of the truck and open the hood and all the doors. Not really common, but it’s nothing really out of the ordinary.” Kirker complied with the guard’s instructions.Little did Kirker know, things were about to take a serious violent turn.Kirker writes, “As the guard and I were walking to the back of my truck to open the trailer door, he demanded I remove my four fingers from my pants pocket. Startled by the demand, I obliged. After opening the trailer door and hood, I started following him back to where my wife was standing. Because of habit and comfort, I unknowingly put my four fingers back in my pocket. Again, the guard demanded that I remove my hand from my pocket. A little aggravated of the demand, I told the security guard it is a comfort thing, and he is just going to have to deal with it.” Kirker then explains that the guard told him that company policy was that people on the premises must keep their hands visible at all times and that if he [Kirker] was not willing to follow the rules then he [Kirker] would be asked to leave.Kirker then writes, “Since we were never given a list of rules or agreed to them, I didn’t feel it was an acceptable request to comply with the security guard’s unlawful order.” As a result, Kirker says he and his wife agreed that the best thing for them to do was to leave.Kirker then says he began walking back to his truck with the intention of grabbing his phone to call his company, but a guard stepped in front of him blocking his path. Kirker says he told the guard to move and the guard refused and told him [Kirker] that he wasn’t allowed to leave.Kirker then says he attempted to walk around the guard and that’s when all hell broke loose. The guard pushes Kirker into his truck and Kirker responds by pushing back in “self-defense.” A melee ensued.As Kirker and the guard scuffled, Kirker’s wife, Shannon, begins to come to the aid of her husband. More security guards then descend on the couple and violently begin attempting to subdue them.As Shannon kicks and screams, numerous guards wrestle and fight with her. Numerous additional guards become violent with Kirker as he is on the ground struggling. One security guard even forcefully “knee drops” Kirker while he is on his stomach on the ground. Kirker said the force of the knee strike to the back of his neck and head caused him “to lose consciousness for about four to five seconds.”
Posted by Swift in Action on Friday, January 25, 2019
Kirker appeared in municipal court in Olive Branch, Mississippi, on Thursday to face charges of Disorderly Conduct-Interfering With Business, and Assault. Moments before entering the courtroom, Kirker admitted to being nervous in a Facebook Live video.
“My heart’s beating, it’s pounding,” he said to those watching. He expressed optimism that the charges against him would be dismissed. “My attorney is very hopeful, dare I say confident,” Kirker said.
However, proceedings inside the courtroom did not unfold as favorably as Kirker hoped. Though the judge dismissed the charge of Assault, Kirker was deemed to have interfered with Metro Foods business because his semi was blocking traffic from entering and exiting the the facility.
“The guards lied and the judge believed them,” Kirker said. “They said they had a right to do what they did and the judge sided with them.” Kirker vented his frustrations by alleging the judge was “dirty,” and “somebody paid him off.”
Kirker said he believes his rights were violated by being unlawfully detained. “They interfered with my business,” he said. “They interfered with my ability to leave.”
Kirker said he is not only concerned for himself, but also the precedent he believes Thursday’s ruling sets. “This basically states that we as truck drivers have no rights. We have to do whatever they (security guards) tell us to do even though they are not police,” Kirker stated.
Kirker must now pay a $500 fine in addition to the $1,200 bond he already posted in the case. He is also facing a possible 30-day jail sentence.
The Kirker’s are not going to go away quietly. Shortly after the judgement against him was handed down, Kirker vowed to his supporters that he would fight on. “I can’t stop now. I have to fight this,” he said.
Kirker plans to appeal the guilty verdict. The timeline for the appeal to be heard is not yet known. However a key difference in the appeal effort will be that a jury will hear the case for the first time.
Plans To File Civil Suit
From almost the moment the shocking video of the Kirker’s incident went public, truckers and others, have been speaking out in support of the couple. Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has received countless comments on our social media pages urging the Kirker’s to file a civil suit against Metro Foods Distribution and the security company, Paragon Systems Inc.
Kirker confirmed to TNN late Thursday evening the couple intends to file a civil lawsuit and will name Metro Foods Distribution along with Paragon Systems Inc. as defendants. “That video speaks a million words and I hope it’s worth a million dollars,” Kirker said.
He told his Facebook followers both he and his wife are still affected by injuries sustained during the violent incident.
Renews Plea For Help
Facing mounting financial burdens, which TNN outlined in a report last month, the Kirker’s set up GoFundMe and PayPal campaigns at the urging of friends and fellow truckers. Kirker asked supporters to help with his appeal saying it was going to cost at least $1,500 to continue the fight.
“I’ve had thousands and thousands of well wishes,” Kirker said. “Thank you for all your support,” he said to his followers.