Updated:EAST POINT, Ga. —
A 70-year-old East Point woman said she was manhandled by police and detained for no reason at a traffic checkpoint.
The city’s police department won’t comment on the matter, but police officials said they’re looking into the incident. The alleged victim has filed a formal complaint.
“I don't want to start crying, because that was devastating,” Artvetta Jones told Channel 2’s Erin Coleman.
Jones said she's still upset about what happened to her at the intersection of Gray Wall and Hedland drives a few weeks ago. An East Point officer at a traffic checkpoint asked for her license. She said she complied, but then started having car trouble.
“He said, ‘Just turn the engine off,’ and I said, ‘If I turn the engine off, it’s not going to start because it has already overheated,’” Jones said.
She said that's when things turned ugly, and it played out in front of her grandchildren in the car. In the complaint she filed, she said the officer became agitated, verbally abusive, and proceeded to pat her down, treating her like a criminal.
“That's when he told me to get out the car. I got out the car. He caught me by my wrists. Then, he took my hands and escorted me back to his vehicle,” Jones said.
All the while, she said her 4-year-old and 11-year-old granddaughters were crying in her car. The whole ordeal, she said, took an hour and much of that time, she was away from them, in the back of a police cruiser.
“I didn't know if he was actually going to take me to jail and lock me up, because that's what he told me he was going to do. And he said, ‘Don't ask me no more questions. Don't say anything else to me,’” she said.
She’s still shaken up about it.
“He said he didn't trust me. Come on, look at me. He didn't trust me? Where was I to go? With two young children in the backseat of the car, where was I to go?” she said.
Jones was cited for not having her grandchildren properly restrained, and she admits she was in the wrong. But she said she doesn’t want anyone else to go through what she went through.
East Point police said two officers were sent to Jones’ home to gather more information about the incident earlier this month. The department released a statement saying in part, “The East Point Police Department takes all citizen complaints seriously. The case has been referred to the departmental Internal Affairs Unit and is being investigated. At this time we cannot comment on an open investigation.”