Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black woman in Valley, Alabama, had police officers show up to her home on Sunday and arrest her for failing to pay a $77 trash bill, CBS42 reports.
Menefield told CBS42 that she thought the bill had already been paid, “but they said it hadn’t.”
“And the cuffs,” she said, her eyes swelling with tears. “They’re so heavy.”
When the officer told her not to cry, Menefield asked him, “How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama?"
“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield said, her voice shaking. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed. And it’s been bothering me.”
In a post on the city’s social media account, Valley's police chief defended the arrest.
“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.”
Since the arrest, Menefield has been thinking about the role of God in her life.
“I’ve been questioning God a little bit,” she said. “I guess cause I’ve been so upset. I had a daycare here for eight years, and I’ve been asking the Lord. I say ‘Why did this happen to me as much as I’ve done for people, Lord? I’ve paid my tithes every Sunday. I ushered at church. I was just questioning. Something’s just not right.”
Read the full report over at CBS42.