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Alabama Woman Sues Andalusia Officials After She’s Arrested for Failing to Produce ID–In Her Own Home

— April 27, 2024

The woman’s attorneys claim that Alabama police officers have a right to demand that suspects identify themselves–but that they cannot force residents to produce a driver’s license or passport.

An Alabama woman has filed a lawsuit against the city of Andalusia, its police department, and an individual officer, claiming that she was arrested for refusing to show her I.D.—while still inside of her own home.

According to National Public Radio, the complaint was filed earlier this week on behalf of 40-year-old Twyla Stallworth. In her complaint, Stallworth alleges that her allegedly wrongful arrest was “racially motivated.”

“Enough is enough for black people and the black community,” Stallworth said in a press conference. “Stand boldly for your rights and always cover yourself. Have a camera and make sure you’re recording because, without evidence, you lose every time.”

Attorneys for Stallworth say that she was harassed and humiliated by Andalusia police officers after she tried calling law enforcement to submit a noise complaint against her neighbor, who Stallworth said had been playing loud music late at night.

A police officer wearing a body camera. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Ryan Johnson. (CCA-BY-2.0).

However, the police never responded to Stallworth’s complaint—prompting her to intentionally activate her own car alarm, hoping that the noise would attract her neighbor’s attention.

But Stallworth’s neighbor did not turn down his music, and instead called the police about the car alarm. Soon afterward, Andalusia Police Officer Grant Barton arrived—and threatened to issue Stallworth a citation over her car alarm.

During their initial conversation, Barton—who said that he would not investigate Stallworth’s neighbor—demanded to see her driver’s license.

“Ma’am, I’m not arguing with you,” Barton said. “Provide I.D. or go to jail.”

In footage captured by Stallworth’s teenage son, Barton can be seen handcuffing and placing her under arrest for charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, and eluding a police officer.

Stallworth spent about 15 hours in detention, during which time she was subjected to a strip search and asked to pay a $3,000 bond.

Andalusia’s mayor, Early Johnson, later issued an apology against Stallworth.

“On behalf of the City of Andalusia and the Andalusia Police Department, I would like to apologize to Twyla Stallworth for her arrest in February,” Johnson said in a statement. “The arresting officer has a clean record with our department, but he made a mistake in the case on February 23.”

“He has been disciplined,” Johnson added.

Alabama, notes N.P.R., has laws that allow a police officer to ask a person suspected of committing a crime for their full name and address. In most cases, suspects are required to provide these details, as well as an explanation for why undertook certain actions or are present in a particular location. However, state law does not specify whether law enforcement can compel suspects to show any form of identification.

“[Stallworth] was not suspected of committing a crime,” the lawsuit claims, but was nonetheless “illegally placed in handcuffs from her home in the presence of her neighbors and son and then transported to the Covington County Jail.”

“While, at the Covington County Jail [sic], Ms. Stallworth was subjected to a humiliating mugshot and degrading strip search,” the complaint alleges.

Stallworth is now seeking assorted damages, including compensation for economic losses and mental anguish.


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