An Orem [Utah] police officer is on paid leave after he handcuffed, fingerprinted and booked into jail a 70-year-old woman in a squabble over her lawn.
Betty Perry opened her door Friday at 9 a.m. to find an officer from the Orem Neighborhood Preservation Unit asking about the scruffy, brown grass in her front yard.
When she said she couldn’t afford to water her lawn at 1568 S. 800 East the officer started to write her a ticket for violating the city’s nuisance ordinance. The ordinance requires residents to keep a maintained, live yard.
Perry didn’t want to give her name, which could be obtained through property records, and asked to go back inside to call her son. As she tried to leave, the officer grabbed her arm and slapped on the first handcuff.
In the scuffle, Perry tripped on the step and fell into the door frame, scraping her nose and elbows and leaving behind spots of blood on the door, and on her shirt and pants, said Orem Police Lt. Doug Edwards. Perry said the officer struck her in the face with the cuffs while he was restraining her.
“He’s just trying to cover his tracks,” she said late Thursday night. “He brutally abused me… and for what? Because I wouldn’t give him my name?”
Perry said she’s been requesting yard help from neighbors, church groups, Boy Scout groups and even the city, but has been ignored, she said. She said she tries to keep the weeds at bay but doesn’t want to pay for water that will feed the weeds. In the meantime, she said she’ll be more wary the next time a police officer knocks on her door.
“If the policeman tells you to stand on your head, do it,” she said. “They’re the boss; they’re the law.”
(Pics & quotations from Deseret Morning News