EXCLUSIVE: 'They just treated us as criminals,' arrested BCSO Whataburger teens say

Whataburger arrest weighs on teen students

SAN ANTONIO -- Vanae Wright is a certified nursing assistant intern at Judson High School. Leilani Green is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars with a 3.8 grade point average at Clemens High School. The college bound girls, however, are learning a highly debated lesson outside the classroom in law and order.

"People just look at me like I have what happened written on my forehead and written all over me," said Wright.

She and Green were arrested by the Bexar County Sheriff's Office following an incident inside a Whataburger on Sept. 2 after a football game.

Deputies said they came to the FM 78 location to investigate a large fight outside the fast food business. Wright and Green were not involved in the altercation. According to a BCSO spokesman, Deputy Cynthia Hernandez entered to premises. She asked Wright and her friends to leave.

Wright said the restaurant's manager had given them permission to eat their food and leave before Hernandez's order. The 17-year-old said she talked with friends in the business and was on Snapchat when the deputy ordered her to leave.

"We never said, 'No, we are not going to leave,'" said Green. "We never refused to get up. We never refused to leave."

Wright said she may not have moved as quickly as Hernandez wanted. Then, it happened. The teen went from getting ready to eat chicken fingers to handcuffs.

As KENS 5 reported, cell phone video shows the deputy pulling her hat off the arrested teen's head and shoving Wright's food off the table.

Green, at the request of Wright, tried to put the hat back on her friend's head. She was arrested for interfering with her friend's apprehension and resisting arrest. The teens have also been banned from the Whataburger location near Converse where the incident happened.

"They treated us as criminals," said Green. "They have diminished our reputations through the city."

Wright was arrested for criminal trespassing. She claims Hernandez whispered "you f--ked with the wrong b--ch."

BCSO spokesman James Keith said the sheriff's office has no evidence of such a harsh statement made to the teen. In addition, he said the girls can challenge the arrest in court.

The sheriff's office has body cameras for motorcycle patrol. All deputies are not equipped with the recording device. Keith said investigators have surveillance video, the deputy's account and the girls' story. He also added that the deputy's order supplants the manager's permission.

Green and Wright said the highly publicized incident is taking a toll on their lives. This wasn't the way they expected to start their senior year.

"It's just so bad how the Bexar County Sheriff's Office doesn't see it from a kid's perspective," said Green. "We have to live with this for the rest of our lives."

The 17-year-olds said they are taking heavy hits in the court of public opinion, especially social media.

"She should have just got up. She should have just shut up, and she probably disrespected [Deputy Hernandez]," said Wright of the posts she has read. "People are calling me 'monkey', and [saying] they should have locked us up and thrown away the key."

Attorneys for Wright and Green said BCSO should drop the charges, acknowledging the mishandling of the situation and discipline the arresting deputies.

"I can almost promise you that won't happen," said Keith.

(© 2016 KENS)


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