Ten of the at least 70 people arrested during a 21st birthday party over the weekend spoke exclusively to Channel 2 Action News for the first time since the incident.
Cartersville police said officers responded to a call of apparent gunshots fired early Sunday morning and something led them to believe that party goers had drugs on them.
The ages of the people arrested range from 15 to 31 years old.
On Monday, a parent of one of the party goers told Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes she is furious because police arrested everyone since no one would claim the drugs.
Deja Heard rented the home where the party was held through Air BnB to celebrate her 21st birthday.
"I’m very sorry it happened, all of us are innocent – it's just not right," she said.
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The party goers said police were checking things out when they smelled marijuana in the front yard. They told us police didn't have a warrant at that point but they said two officers entered the home anyway.
In a news release sent to Channel 2 Action News on Tuesday, police said they obtained a warrant and found two stolen guns, marijuana individually packaged and several smoking devices throughout most of the first-floor rooms. Individually packaged suspected cocaine and cocaine-related paraphernalia were also located upon initial contact with multiple subjects, the release said.
During a sit-down interview with Fernandes on Tuesday, the attendees described being mistreated by officers. They claimed they were tied up with zip ties, threatened with tasers and hauled off to jail. Some of the men said they were locked in cages at the jail.
"I was told we were just being detained; one of the officers said we’re putting you in a van to keep y’all warm," said Austen Davis.
Another attendee, a pregnant woman, said she was verbally abused and mistreated in jail.
"I was throwing up water," she said. "The whole saying 'innocent until proven guilty' went out the window. They told me I was an unfit person to have a baby."
The attendees told Fernandes they spent nearly three days in jail for nothing. Many of them lost their jobs and now they're afraid they'll end up with a criminal record.
"I’m about to graduate college this semester so it was kinda embarrassing, I had my cousin with me, he’s in the military so it just sucked we had to go through it that way," said Dakelin Wells.
Along with the attorneys representing the young people arrested, the NAACP is now involved.
Cox Media Group