VALLEY, Ala. — A police department in Alabama has come under fire after it arrested an elderly woman on charges she failed to pay her trash bill.
A press release shared on the City of Valley, Alabama’s Facebook page said that officers of the Valley Police Department arrested Martha Louis Menefield on Nov. 27 on charges of failure to pay her trash bill. She was released on bond after she was processed.
Valley police chief Mike Reynolds said that Menefield received a citation in August for nonpayment of fees for June, July and August. Prior to issuing the citation, officials said they attempted to call Menefield and contact her in person. During one attempt to reach her, officials left a door hanger on Menefield’s property with the reason for the visit and the name and phone number to call.
Menefield was due in court Sept. 7 in reference to the citation, but when she did not appear, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Reyolds said that records show Menefield’s trash service was suspended three times in the last two years for nonpayment, and since 2006 there have been more than 22 incidents of suspensions and revocations of service.
Some critics of the city were alarmed by the arrest.
“Absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have seen this year,” said one commenter on Facebook, according to AL.com. “You should be ashamed to call yourselves law enforcement. Of all things people should be arrested for this is the most asinine thing. At 82 she has to make sacrifices with the pricing of everything now. Food or trash … I would definitely hold my head down in shame.”
Another commenter on the city’s Facebook post said, “Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. This lady is 82 on a fixed income. That’s just wrong I don’t care if it was the ‘law’ or not. That’s just wrong!”
The city said in its post that “Ms. Menefield was treated respectfully by our officers in the performance of their duties.”
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