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Grandmother files complaint against Youngstown police

Published: Fri, March 16, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



A 46-year-old Youngs-town woman who said she was manhandled and disrespected by Youngstown police has filed a complaint with the department’s internal-affairs division.

Vonda Motton, her daughter Shay-Yana Motton, 26, and two grandchildren went to an East Side restaurant for barbecue Monday afternoon, but a 10-minute interaction with Youngstown police left them too shaken to enjoy the meal.

Vonda Motton sat in the car while her daughter entered the McGuffey Road restaurant to pick up the family’s food order. As the woman sat in the parking lot, her car was blocked by a Youngstown cruiser, she said.

Vonda said an officer asked for her identification, but before she could retrieve the material, she was taken out of her car, placed face down on the back of the car, handcuffed and taken to the nearby cruiser.

“There was no explanation for anything; [they] just took me to the car, and that is where [I was] made to sit,” she said. “I was concerned for the safety of my grandkids and wanted to know what I was being arrested for. I asked him several times, and he just ignored me.”

Vonda Motton, who said she has never been in trouble with the law and whose name does not appear in city or county criminal court records, said she felt overwhelmed during the interaction and began to have an asthma attack.

When she asked the officers to retrieve her medication from her car, she said she was ignored.

Shay-Yana Motton came out of the restaurant in time to see her mother in the back of the cruiser asking for her medication. Shay-Yana Motton said the officers told her to stay away from the car as she went to get her children, age 4 and 7.

“I was mad, upset, just hysterical. ... The kids were upset. ... The 4-year-old was crying,” she said.

When the officers were informed they had the wrong person, Vonda Motton was freed. She said the officers just drove off without an apology or an explanation.

“I just stood there in the middle of the street in shock,” she said. “I have never had anything like that happen before. I want clarity on what happened.”

The officers in question have not been charged, and the internal-affairs department is just starting its investigation, police said.

Shay-Yana Motton took pictures of the officers involved and their cruiser. She and her mother went to the police department Thursday and filed a report.

Vonda Motton said the complaint and investigation could have been avoided with simple courtesy from the officers involved.

“You should at least get an apology. I know mistakes happen, but I got none of that. They wouldn’t even talk to me,” she said.

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