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Video: Cops arrest elderly woman over $77 trash bill

Police car lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 20, 2023

An Alabama woman was arrested for failing to pay her $77 late trash bill, according to a recently released police bodycam video.

Marth Menefield, 82, of Alabama, originally thought the two officers from the Valley Police Department were joking when they arrived at her home on Nov. 27 and said they were there to arrest her.

“I’m so serious, it’s a warrant,” one officer said. “I’m not joking.”

“So you’re going to handcuff me to take me to jail?” Menefield asked. “You’re arresting an 82-year-old woman?”

The officer apologized but acknowledge that she was being placed under arrest. Menefield was placed in handcuffs and driven away in a police car.

“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield said. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed, and it’s been bothering me.”

She was charged with “failure to pay solid waste fees,” according to the police department.

The report quickly led to strong pushback across social media as video from the incident turned viral.

“I’m sure it cost way more than that in police resources to arrest her. Mayor Riley, you have the ability to fix this nonsense by pardoning Ms. Martha. Use it,” one Facebook user wrote on the City of Valley Alabama City Hall Facebook page.

“They treated this elderly lady like a criminal,” another user wrote. “The only thing criminal about this entire situation were the actions of the city, judge, and police department.”

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Some even responded by offering to pay Menefield’s fine to clear her name in the matter.

“I’m happy to chip in to pay this and future invoices. Shame on utility billing staff for forwarding this to the court,” one Facebook user wrote.

Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds later posted a statement to Facebook to defend 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,” Reynolds wrote. “Prior to issuing the citation, Code Enforcement tried to call Ms. Menefield several times and attempted to contact her in person at her residence.”

Menefield was processed at the Valley Police Department and released on bond, according to the statement.

The long-time Alabama resident claimed that she never received the mailing concerning the citation. Menefield said that her daughter handles her bills and she had not been aware of the issue.