“Unite” And “Fight” Says Trucker Whose Violent Detention At Shipper Was Caught On Video
Olive Branch, Mississippi – September 11, 2018, was like any other day for husband and wife owner-operator team Clinton and Shannon Kirker. Determined to be on time to pick up their delivered duty paid load bound for California, they arrived at approximately 7:40 a.m. (20 minutes early for their 8 a.m. appointment) to the Metro Foods distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi. They had no way of knowing that what would transpire over the course of the next few minutes would turn their lives and careers upside down, and that the video of the events would soon send shockwaves of anger through many in the trucking community.
The couple pulled up to the security gate in their 2016 Freightliner Cascadia which they had recently been able to secure a sizable loan to buy the lease out and purchase. The controversial and violent events that followed were captured on a closed circuit tv camera.
The footage reveals a violent altercation between contracted security guards, working for Paragon Systems Inc., and the Kirkers. You can WATCH the entire video, plus READ Clinton’s account of events, the police report and affidavits by those involved HERE.
Following the confrontation, Clinton was detained by Olive Branch police and charged with “Disorderly Conduct-Interfering With Business,” and “Assault.”
After growing increasingly impatient with the lack of movement in the case, Clinton released the footage to the public via YouTube in late November and then via his Facebook page in early December. He did this against the advisement of his attorney who has since withdrawn as counsel in this matter, due in part because of the release of the video.
In a recent post to his Facebook page Clinton says he chose to release the video because he wants “every party involved to be held accountable.”
“This Isn’t Okay”
In a recent exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Clinton, the 12-year-veteran truck driver says the treatment Paragon Systems security personnel subjected he and his wife to was wrong and inexcusable. He believes if they do not face punishment it will send a chilling message to truckers. “If I lose this case it will say that shippers and recievers can legally hold us against our will and we as truckers have no rights,” he told Transportation Nation Network.
Clinton said that his initial motivation for releasing the video was about his case, but as so many truckers have expressed words of encouragement and solidarity, Clinton now views this as a cause. “I have already received more support than I ever dreamed I would get,” Clinton said. “Some have even donated money to help with the bills we have acquired during all this.”
Clinton is grateful for the support and vows to fight for better treatment of truckers. “I’m not fighting this just for myself now. I’m fighting for truck drivers across the country,” he said.
Counting The Costs
Clinton detailed to Transportation Nation Network the costs he and Shannon have suffered in the aftermath of that September morning. He revealed to us it’s cost them “thousands and thousands” of dollars when you consider the medical bills incurred, more than two weeks of lost wages, legal fees, and traveling expenses like hotel, food, rental cars and fuel to and from Olive Branch from their home in Ohio.
In addition to the financial toll it has taken on the couple, the “overwhelming” emotional and physical wounds still linger, Clinton says. “Shannon has a tough time talking about it,” he said. When she talks about it she “breaks down in tears,” he lamented. “The male guard touched my wife several times on her neck, each time she screamed ‘Stop touching me!,’ while we were cuffed and there was nothing either of us could do about it.”
As for Clinton, he’s still feeling the effects from the brutal take down, vicious knee drop to the back of the neck, and multiple injuries he suffered. “I try to keep my pain under control with aspirin, some days are worse than others,” he told TNN. He says his neck, back and right shoulder continue to hurt “every day” since the confrontation happened.
The Long Haul Ahead
As the Kirkers prepare for Clinton’s scheduled January 24, 2019, court date to face the pending charges, the couple say they will continue trucking on. Clinton says the couple has had their share of “hard times” before and they are determined to persevere.
A groundswell of supporters are also determined to help the Kirkers keep trucking. Friends and fellow truckers urged them to start a GoFundMe campaign to help them manage the mounting financial burdens. The Kirkers obliged and tell Transportation Nation Network they’ve already received more than $600 in donations both through the GoFundMe campaign and other means.
If you would like to make a donation large or small to help the Kirkers, you can do so by clicking HERE.
It’s Time To Unite
Clinton hopes truckers will take this moment in time to rise up and join together to demand a better way forward for all truck drivers. “We need to unite now and tell America that this isn’t okay,” he said.
For those who are skeptical or don’t believe his version of events, Clinton says he understands, but urged, “All truck drivers need to know about this. Even if they don’t agree, they need to be aware,” he stated.
MORE TO FOLLOW…
Transportation Nation Network has much more of our interview with Clinton we plan to share in the coming days. Does Clinton believe, as some are alleging, that the attacks on he and Shannon were racially motivated?
What about the “Make Trucking Great Again” hat he was wearing? Does he believe the attack was politically motivated? Why did he decide to reject a plea deal from the prosecutor in the case?
We will bring you answers to all of this, plus find out what some trucking groups are already planning in support of the Kirkers. Stay tuned to TransportationNation.com for the latest!