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Arrest of Alabama octogenarian over $77 trash bill draws outrage

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VALLEY, Ala. — An 82-year-old Alabama woman was arrested for not paying a $77.80 trash bill.

Court records show the Valley woman was arrested Sunday for not paying the garbage service bill that covered the months of June, July and August. She was charged with a misdemeanor offense of "failure to pay solid waste fees."

The arrest of the octogenarian drew outrage on social media as criminalizing debt. A city official said the arrest came after multiple attempts to collect the bill and a history of suspended service.

The city on Tuesday posted a statement on Facebook about the arrest. Officials said code enforcement officers attempted to contact her several times and left a door hanger at her home. After she did not appear at a September court date for the citation, an arrest warrant for "Failure to Pay-Trash was issued."

Court records show that she was arrested in 2006 for not paying a $206.54 trash bill. The case was later dismissed "upon compliance," court records showed.

Valley Police Chief Mark Reynolds said in the statement that officers were required to arrest her after a magistrate signed the warrant.

The woman "was treated respectfully by our officers in the performance of their duties and was released on a bond as prescribed by the violation," Reynolds said.

Press Release November 29, 2022 On November 27, 2022, officers of the Valley Police Department arrested Martha Louis...

Posted by City of Valley Alabama - City Hall on Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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