A WOMAN says she and her two children were wrongfully detained by Atlanta police after she was mistaken for an armed robber.
Deondra Hawkins’ legal team is calling for a full investigation of the incident despite Cobb County Police saying they might not be involved.
Authorities said they were called to a report of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile on March 18. A man with a pistol was seen running to a shopping center parking lot across the street, said police.
A victim in the robbery apparently told officers that the man then ran from the parking lot into a white Hyundai Sonata.
Less than an hour later, police conducted a traffic stop at a RaceTrac gas station on a vehicle that matched the witness' description.
Hawkins was told to get out of the vehicle and was handcuffed, authorities said.
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The woman’s teenage daughter and son came out of the convenience store and were also detained shortly afterward.
A video of the incident was shared by Hawkins’ attorneys. The woman is seen with her hands up behind a police vehicle outside the gas station.
One officer is seen pulling her 14-year-old daughter aside to detain her. The girl can be heard screaming as she is taken away by law enforcement.
“I was in handcuffs,” said Hawkins. “My daughter ran towards me – I was trying to get them to remain where they were.”
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Hawkins tearfully explained to 11Alive that her son was told to get on the ground, adding that the officers had separated her kids from one another.
“They were separated from me,” she said. “And it’s very traumatizing to even think about it.”
The Cobb County Police explained in a press release that the investigation of the robbery was based on witness and victim statements.
“Although the detainees confirmed they had left the shopping center located across the street from the armed robbery in their white Hyundai as the witness described, officers released the detainees at the scene concluding they may not have been involved,” said the department.
Hawkins called the incident an act of negligence.
“They didn’t tell us anything,” she said.
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“They said they were looking for a tall, slim, suspect.
"Well, I just find it peculiar that neither myself or my children fit the description, so I don't understand why it escalated the way that it did.”
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