An Army reservist says she was wrongfully arrested for being absent without leave by armed officers who stormed her home at gunpoint while her children watched in panic.
Sgt. 1st Class Shantaya Williams, 44, from Grand Prairie, Texas, was reportedly nursing her 1-year-old on Nov. 30 when authorities broke down her door and took her into custody.
After about two weeks behind bars Williams was allowed to return home.
“I’m more hurt, disappointed and disgusted because it’s like, who else has this been done to,” Williams told a local CBS affiliate after her release. When asked if she felt mistreated and disrespected by the Army she said, “I do, because it could have been handled differently.”
Williams, an Iraq War veteran who entered the Army in 1997, has been in an ongoing battle over a transfer from her role with the 2nd Battalion, 381st Army Regiment in Texas to the 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Virginia.
With a decades long military career in both the Army and Army Reserve, the human resources specialist had hoped a letter from her doctor about her treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, her new baby and child custody issues would be enough to appeal her transfer.
Instead, U.S. Marshals and Grand Prairie police arrested the mother of four at her home and accused her of desertion.
“It’s a real unfortunate bureaucratic snafu and it really is an example of an excessive use of force,” Williams’ attorney Sean Timmons said in an interview with Military Times.
“The allegation that she is a deserter is defamatory, outrageous, salacious and unsupported by any evidence,” he said, adding that the arrest was potentially motivated by retaliation, race and gender.