"I was terrified," the mother said. "I couldn’t believe I could be going to jail for something I said."
For a single mother in Georgia, things were difficult enough for her when she had to take care of her two children when they were sick with no one to help her. But things were made all the more difficult by her ex-husband, who had a role to play in getting her handcuffed and put in the Washington County jail for hours. And all this for a post that she put up on social media.
It was in 2015 when the single mother, Anne King put up a post about her ex-husband on Facebook when her two children were sick at home. "That moment when everyone in your house has the flu and you ask your kids' dad to get them (not me) more Motrin and Tylenol and he refuses," Anne wrote in her post as quoted by Fox 5.
Her ex-husband, Corey King, lived nearby and he was criticized by a number of people who saw Anne's post. Corey King, who is also the Washington County deputy sheriff, had asked Anne to take the post down. And he later showed it to the Washington County chief magistrate Ralph Todd. Corey had even approached a colleague and friend, Capt. Trey Burgamy who helped in carrying out Anne's arrest.
Not long after that, the police landed up at Anne's front door, taking her into custody after the judge believed that she had committed the crime of "criminal defamation" for "derogatory and degrading comments... for the purpose of provoking a breach of the peace."
"They put me in a patrol car in downtown Sandersville," Anne recalled. "That was very humiliating in a small town especially where everyone knows everyone."
Even though "criminal defamation" was ruled as unconstitutional in Georgia in 1982, Anne was put in a jail cell where she even had a visitor during that time — her ex-husband. Anne said, "I had a bad feeling to be in his jail with his jailers processing me. And he walks by and looks me dead in the face in his jail and I can't tell you how intimidated I felt."
Anne was terrified and shocked that she was arrested for "speaking how I feel."
"I was terrified," Anne told AJC. "I couldn’t believe I could be going to jail for something I said."
"Anne was let go after spending five and a half hours in the jail cell. But she wasn't going to back down after what Corey did. She went on to pursue a civil lawsuit against Washington County, the sheriff’s office, Capt. Trey Burgamy, and her ex-husband.
"There were plenty of times I thought to myself I should just end this," the mother-of-two said. "But I wasn’t going to back down and let them win."
Finally, years after she was mistreated for sharing her earnest opinion, she received a proper apology and a settlement of $100,000.
In the written apology that Corey wrote for her, he included, "We apologize for the pain caused and time wasted including Ms. King being charged and arrested with respect to what was really a personal dispute that should have ended without involvement of the courts."
For Anne, it wasn't about the money she received as settlement, but the apology that took responsibility for the humiliation she had to face.
In a post where she thanked everyone along the way of her lawsuit, she also said, "Having me arrested and publicly humiliated, along with the embarrassment my children and family faced ... you can’t put a price tag on that. At the end of the day taking responsibility for their actions was far more valuable than any set amount of money I could get."
After all that she went through, she was able to say "I felt small and helpless. And now I feel... I’m a giant now."
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