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Army veteran, accused of going AWOL, released from jail 2 weeks after arrest

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – On Dec. 14, Sergeant First Class Shantaya Williams arrived back home after she was released from custody following 14 days in jail.

The attorney for Williams told CBS 11 that a deal was worked out with an Army court to release her until a hearing early next month.

He says it’s likely this release would not have happened if not for the attention generated by our news story last week.

Williams received a warm welcome from her husband outside an Army base in Lawton, Oklahoma where she was released after two weeks in custody.

But she received an even bigger welcome at home from her four kids, including her 1-year-old she says she was nursing at the time of her arrest.

The release is the latest development in one of the strangest and most disturbing cases of Army desertion anyone can seem to recall.

“I’m more hurt, disappointed and disgusted because I’m like, who else has this been done to?” Williams said.

Williams is an Iraq War veteran who has a 20-year military career in both the U.S. Army and Army Reserve.

She could have walked away and retired from decades of service at any time.

But instead, the 44-year-old sergeant first class found herself arrested at gunpoint by U.S. Marshals and Grand Prairie police who kicked in her door on Nov. 30.

When asked if she felt she was mistreated and disrespected by the Army, Williams responded, “I do, because it could’ve been handled differently.”

Williams was classified as AWOL for refusing a transfer to Virginia.

But she had protested the move and her attorney says it’s because she was undergoing treatment for PTSD.

“The outrageous excessive force used in this case should shock the conscience of every American,” said Sean Timmons, William’s attorney.

Civil rights groups question whether race and gender played a role.

“I’m asking for the U.S. Army secretary to do a full investigation on how this happened to the soldier,” said Angela Luckey with the Grand Prairie NAACP.

Williams says she feels betrayed by her country but still plans to finish out her military career if she’s allowed to.

“I will always respect uniform, but the feeling inside me will be different, definitely,” she said.

The army did not comment on this latest move and still has not explained the reasons for the original arrest.

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