Local Alabama Police Arrested 82-Year-Old Woman for Overdue Trash Bill

On November 27, the native authorities of Valley, Alabama brought on a scandal by sending two cops to the house of Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black girl residing alone, to arrest her for failing to pay $77.80 price of rubbish assortment charges. Locals and on-line commenters slammed the Valley Police Division (VPD), and the story was picked up by the Washington Post and NBC. The police really cuffed Menefield’s arms, however in entrance of her physique “in recognition of a decrease risk.” One cop had the temerity to whisper, “Don’t cry, Ms. Martha,” whereas arresting her. Menefield was positioned in a station cell, and was bailed out quickly after.

VPD chief Mike Reynolds tried to nip public criticism within the bud with a statement asserting municipal code enforcement officers repeatedly tried to contact Menefield about excellent payments, earlier than leaving a card on her entrance door summoning her to a courtroom listening to. He stated Menefield was chronically late paying her trash invoice over the past fifteen years, implying that the arrest was justified as a result of the courtroom had issued an arrest warrant for failure to look.

Bourgeois media supplied some sense of the tragicomedy of arresting an individual of such superior age for such a trivial “crime” quoting neighbors criticizing the town and expressing appreciation for Menefield. However the bourgeois press received’t contact the concept this inappropriate arrest is one reflection of whether or not or not police actually “defend and serve” the overall inhabitants.

Menefield requested why the town didn’t simply halt her trash service relatively than arrest her. Fundamental companies like trash pickup should be free, particularly for aged and dealing class individuals. The town authorities stole sooner or later of this girl’s restricted closing years on earth to topic her to Kafkaesque harassment. Nevertheless, one native reporter noticed rubbish staff acquire Menefield’s trash after the arrest, both out of solidarity or as a result of the town wished to restrict destructive publicity.

Menefield grew up below Jim Crow. Her mother and father labored as a home painter and a cook dinner, which an area station bizarrely described as a “center class” background. Within the USA, everybody besides Jeff Bezos and unhoused individuals are purported to be “center class” for political causes, however this can be a description of being working class. For many of her grownup life Menefield was a care employee for aged individuals and youngsters. Mainstream information protection didn’t ask why she might have struggled to pay $78 in service payments. They didn’t focus on inflation and different components threatening individuals’s capacity to pay residing bills. Menefield additionally had her water service shut off, and had often needed to go to neighbors for assist.

The town spent rather more than $78 of residents’ tax cash on two cops, jail, courtroom time, paperwork, and public relations to harass Menefield. Bullying an 82-year-old working class girl with late payments places the misinform the police propaganda that cops are supposed to defend us from violence. Marxism understands that the capitalist state is a hypocritical, inevitably abusive machine. Its types of “legality” serve the very wealthy, whilst they revenue from local weather change, power individuals to work twelve hour shifts, and trigger preventable deaths from insufficient healthcare. The state elevates officers, together with cops, right into a place of superiority, unaccountability, and contempt in direction of working individuals, notably those that are oppressed on the idea of race, gender, and different dividing traces.

No cheap particular person would ever have consented to arrest Martha Menefield. A logical society would simply arrange slightly cooperation to assist a retiree with a trivial family drawback. The cops and the courts are put collectively in a approach that goes outdoors fundamental social expectations. Their job is to not serve and defend anybody however the ruling class.

A receptionist on the county courtroom instructed the Washington Put up that since Menefield’s arrest, “There have been one million individuals providing to pay her invoice,” but the native authorities is not going to settle for the cost till Menefield seems as a defendant at a January listening to. Mayor Leonard Riley got here out in protection of the arrest and attacked Menefield, saying that she ran a profitable tax preparation enterprise from her dwelling and not using a license, acquired a pandemic PPP authorities mortgage, and “ought to be capable to pay [her] rubbish invoice.”

This shameful use of police energy shouldn’t be an exception. The police are supposed to keep up and regulate capitalism: it’s common for them to micromanage individuals’s lives, and even commit violence towards the aged. Cops in Arizona arrested a 78-year-old girl this yr for giving free hot meals to homeless individuals in a public park. Alabama police arrested two girls aged 61 and 85 for feeding stray cats. In recent times, police have additionally cracked the cranium of a 75-year-old Black Lives Matter protester in New York state, damaged the arm of a mentally disabled 75-year-old woman in Colorado, and shot a 61-year-old man dead in his wheelchair in Arizona.

Black Lives Matter. The dignity of people that have labored their complete lives issues. The police don’t have any proper to exist — in Valley, Alabama or wherever.