ROSWELL, Ga. — A college student who was arrested in a scuffle with Roswell police told Channel 2 Action News that it had not been necessary for an officer to break her jaw.
Shanita Maeberry told Channel 2’s investigative reporter Mark Winne that she did not cooperate the way she could have with police and she didn’t know what was happening in her first encounter of this kind with officers.
But, she said, nobody needed to break her jaw.
“My jaw was fractured on both sides with one blow to the face,” Maeberry told Winne. “What I'm hoping to get out of this is a little justice to wonder why I got punched in the face the way I did.”
Maeberry showed Winne how her jaw was wired shut, but she said it was important to open her mouth as much as she can speak out about the Roswell police stop that was caught on police video Nov. 11 and that led to her injury.
“There’s just so much confusion and question that I have about what’s happened,” Maeberry said.
Maeberry's attorney, Quinton Washington, said he doesn't want her to comment in detail about the charges of obstruction of an officer and misdemeanor marijuana possession she faces after a traffic stop.
“We've been working with the city of Roswell to determine exactly what happened,” Washington said.
He said he's asking for a hold on public protests about the case right now.
“We still don't know the full scope of the injustice that happened,” Washington said.
The police chief has reportedly said Maeberry punched Detective James Van Alstine in the face and he punched her back.
Van Alstine's attorney, Phillip Holloway, spoke to Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik Monday about the incident.
"An arrest was proper. An arrest was lawful and the use of force was lawful," Holloway said. “They used whatever force to eliminate whatever threat she was posing.”
“Given the number of officers out there, it may not have been necessary to punch a woman in the face and break her jaw to subdue her, and based on that alone I think it merits further investigation about what happened and whether that was necessary,” Washington said.
Maeberry said it was her first arrest. She just received her associates degree in criminal justice, and she told Winne she still wants to be a juvenile probation officer
“You know, my family, if it wasn’t for them and prayer, I wouldn’t have the strength to even be talking right now,” Maeberry said. “I did not do anything wrong to the point of me getting my jaw fractured.”
Washington said he is investigating the timeline of when Maeberry sought and got medical treatment for her broken jaw. Preliminarily, he said she was taken to the hospital at approximately 5 p.m. the day after the night of the traffic stop.
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