An 82-year-old Alabama woman was left in tears after being handcuffed, arrested, and jailed for failing to pay a $77.80 trash bill.
Martha Menefield told KTLA she initially thought two officers from the Valley Police Department were joking when they arrived at her home Nov. 27 and told her they were there to arrest her for failing to pay a garbage service bill covering the months of June, July and August.
“Don’t cry, Ms. Martha,” Menefield recalled one of the officers saying, while she again broke out in tears while describing the ordeal.
“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” the octogenarian said. “That would have irritated them.” I was so embarrassed, and it’s been bothering me ever since.”
Her misdemeanor arrest for “failure to pay solid waste fees” drew outrage on social media, along with offers to pick up the bill.
But Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds on Tuesday posted a statement on Facebook defending the arrest, saying multiple attempts were made collect the debt and that Menefield has history of suspended service.
He added that after she failed to appear at a September court date for a citation, an arrest warrant for “Failure to Pay-Trash” was issued.
Menefield claimed she never received a summons to court.