As ridiculous as this may sound, an 82-year-old Black woman was arrested in Valley, Alabama, for failure to pay a $77 trash bill, according to CBS 42. When two officers approached the home of Martha Menefield, she was surprised. The officers then informed her they came to arrest her for the trash bill, and initially, Menefield thought it was a joke. They then placed Menefield in handcuffs and told her not to cry.
“How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama,” she asked the officer. He didn’t respond.
“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.”
Menefield thought the bill had been paid off and never received a notice to appear in court. The officers can use discretion in carrying out certain arrests, but not when it comes to an arrest warrant signed by a magistrate says the Valley’s chief of police.
Also, from CBS 42:
“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.”
Menefield has lived at her residence for 30 years and believes her arrest was “unjust and unnecessary.” Both she and her daughter Neketti Tucker agree that this should never be considered a crime. What’s even more strange is that Tucker says multiple people have tried to pay the bill for her mother and were told they couldn’t do so. While Menefield was only in the Valley jail for a short time, she left the officers hear about it.
“I was in a little cage-like thing at the police station,” she said. “And I said, ‘Y’all put me in this cage? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”