National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Bloodied 70-year-old Woman Cuffed for Having a Brown Lawn

A 70-year-old woman arrested in a dispute over her brown lawn pleaded not guilty Tuesday, then stood by as a Los Angeles lawyer waved handcuffs for the cameras outside court.

Betty Perry is charged with resisting arrest and failing to maintain her landscaping, both misdemeanors.

She was arrested July 6 after failing to give her name to a police officer who visited her home.

During a struggle, Perry fell and injured her nose. She spent more than an hour in a holding cell before police released her.

"I ask the citizens of Orem: How many of you would like to have your great-grandmother taken from her home with bruises and blood and placed in handcuffs for failing to water her lawn?" attorney Gloria Allred said.

"Let's bring sanity back to law enforcement," she said.

The mayor and City Council apologized, and the police department said the situation could have been handled differently. But the city attorney still is pressing charges, and Perry is due back in court next month.

A state investigation found that Officer James Flygare acted properly in arresting Perry after trying to get her to cooperate.

Perry's water had been turned off for about nine months, at her request, although she was living at the house at the time of the arrest. Orem has a shutoff policy for people who are away for extended periods.


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