Over the years, the Free Thought Project has reported on many asinine reasons police have used to arrest entirely innocent people who have harmed no one. Frequently, long grass on one’s own property or a burnt-out license plate light can get people killed in the land of the free as officers fail to use their discretion and instead react with brute force and callousness toward their fellow human.
Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black woman in Alabama—who’s never had a run-in with the law in her entire life—learned recently that police can and will arrest and kidnap you, even for the most ridiculous reasons. The two armed state agents who kidnapped Memefield used her unpaid $77 trash bill as their ridiculous reason to take her freedom last week.
“Don’t cry,” the officers told her as they kidnapped the elderly woman. “Don’t cry, Ms. Martha.”
Menefield told WIAT that she had no idea why officers pulled up at her house that day as she has never broken the law. When one of the two officers told her they were there to arrest her over her trash bill, Menefield laughed, thinking the officers were joking.
They were not joking.
“You’re not kidding?” Menefield asked the officers, quickly finding out that they were not. As murders, rapes, thefts, and assaults go unsolved at increasing rates, armed agents of the state were dispatched to the home of an 82-year-old woman to arrest her for a $77.80 trash bill that she thought she had already paid.
As Menefield told her story to WIAT, she teared up, describing how heavy the handcuffs were on her 82-year-old arms.
“They’re so heavy,” she said through tears.
Attempting to appeal to the humanity of the officers while they kidnapped her over a trash bill, Menefield asked the officers, “How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama”? They did not respond.
“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield told the media outlet. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed. And it’s been bothering me.”
After her arrest last week and the subsequent outrage at the Valley Police Department, instead of apologizing for Menefield’s arrest over a trash bill, the Valley chief took to Facebook to defend the madness.
“City of Valley Code Enforcement Officers issued Ms. Menefield a citation in August of 2022 for non-payment for trash services for the months of June, July, and August,” Chief Mike Reynolds’ statement said. “Prior to issuing the citation, Code Enforcement tried to call Ms. Menefield several times and attempted to contact her in person at her residence. When contact could not be made, a door hanger was left at her residence. The hanger contained information on the reason for the visit and a name and contact phone number for her to call. The citation advised Ms. Menefield that she was to appear in court on September 7, 2022, in reference to this case. A warrant for Failure to Pay-Trash was issued when she did not appear in court.”
But Menefield said she never received a notice and said that if she failed to pay, they should’ve simply suspended her service—not kidnapped her.
“This isn’t a criminal act,” Neketti Tucker, Menefield’s daughter said. “This is civil, if anything.”
We agree, the only criminal act here was the kidnapping and caging of an 82-year-old woman over forgetting or being unable to pay her trash bill.
“I was in a little cage-like thing at the police station,” Menefield said. “And I said ‘Y’all put me in this cage? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
Indeed, they should.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.