AL woman sues TN law enforcement over alleged civil rights violations

Updated: Aug. 8, 2017 at 7:18 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, TN (WAFF) - Disturbing pictures led to a $2.5 million lawsuit against three agencies in Tennessee.

In this 38-page suit, Tracy Garth of Decatur is claiming after her 2016 arrest on traffic violations in Tennessee, including reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, two counts of violating the child restraint law, two counts of felony evading and multiple other moving violations. She says she was held in the Williamson County Jail for two weeks without the chance to make a single phone call or a chance to speak to an attorney.

The lawsuit then claims her two children were taken to the Franklin Police Department to be held where one sustained severe burns to his mouth, chin and chest from hot water.

The suit also says the Tennessee Division of Child Services investigator wrote a false report, which then put her children in foster care.

In response to these claims, the Tennessee Division of Child Services spokesman said, "The department cannot comment due to pending litigation."

The city of Franklin Tennessee released this information. They say officers called DCS to assist with caring for Garth's children after she couldn't provide contact information for family or next of kin. They also said the child was burned by the hot water after he pushed the wrong button on the water dispenser, and was immediately rushed to the hospital.

Here is the full statement from the city of Franklin's communications manager, Milissa Reierson:

Below is our statement. The suit names the Franklin, TN Police Department, the Williamson County Sheriff's Department (where she was held in jail.) and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

On April 25, 2016, Franklin Police arrested Tracy Garth for three counts of Reckless Endangerment with a Deadly Weapon, two counts of violating the Child Restraint Law, two counts of Felony Evading, and multiple other moving violations.

Following Garth's arrest, officers called DCS to assist with caring for Garth's young children after she was unable to provide contact information for other family or next of kin. While officers were waiting for DCS, one of the children was burned by hot water after pushing a button on a dispenser in the police department break room. Emergency Medical Services were called and the child was transported to Vanderbilt, treated and released to DCS.

Though our legal counsel has advised us not to discuss the particulars of this case outside of the courtroom, we hope that the public recognizes that there are two sides to every story. In the meantime, we hope that the people whom we serve know how earnestly we care for their rights, their safety, and especially their children.

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