An elderly woman was arrested at her Alabama home and taken to city jail a day after she lambasted the small-town mayor and argued with a city employee at a council meeting.
Novilee Williams, 79, was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment after a testy exchange during the Dec. 4 meeting’s public comment portion, which was filmed and later posted to the city’s Facebook page.
“That’s a pity and a shame,” Tarrant Councilwoman Veronica Bandy Freeman told AL.com, who the outlet says burst into tears upon hearing of Williams’ arrest.
“And I feel so bad. That could be somebody’s grandmama, great grandmama.”
In the video, Williams can be seen in a mostly empty council chamber sitting behind a woman identified as Shayla Myricks, an accountant for Tarrant, Ala., a small city of around 6,000 residents just outside of Birmingham.
As Williams strongly criticizes Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton, accusing him of engaging in corruption over the recent suspension and reinstatement of Tarrant Police Chief Wendell Major, Myricks repeatedly turns in her seat to challenge the septuagenarian’s assertions.
“Turn around, honey,” Williams chides Myricks at one point in the video.
Seconds later, Myricks again turns to face Williams and gestures with her hand, which Williams lightly pushes away as she repeats her demand that she turn around.
“Don’t put your hands on me, ma’am,” Myricks can be heard saying in the video.
According to AL.com, that physical contact led Myricks to file misdemeanor charges against Williams, which alleged she “did engage in fighting and threatening behavior in a public place.”
The police report obtained by the outlet says Williams “did, without lawful authority, direct Myricks to turn around” and “did shove Myricks, by making physical contact, in an attempt to force her to do so.”
An email sent to Myricks by The Post seeking comment was not immediately returned Sunday evening.
In the final portions of the video, Williams briefly rose to her feet with her hands placed on her hips as she glowered at Myricks.
After the meeting wrapped up, a uniformed police officer approaches Williams and she presents him with her identification, which she produces from a fanny pack around her waist. The officer takes her ID and walks out of the frame as the footage ends.
According to AL.com, Williams is a regular fixture at Tarrant council meetings and has frequently sparred with Mayor Newton, who was not in the room during the public comment period.
Newton later told the outlet that although he wasn’t involved with Williams’ arrest, “you can’t go putting your hands on people.”
“I wasn’t there, and she was arrested when she put her hands on the city accountant. It was the city accountant who wanted to press charges against her. I didn’t even know that it had happened until people started calling me,” he said.
Newton could not be immediately reached by email.
Williams declined to speak on the incident to AL.com but said she had retained an attorney.
“Everything is well, and I don’t have a grudge against Wayman and that young lady,” Williams told AL.com after her arrest. “I pray for them.”
Speaking to the outlet, Councilwoman Freeman vowed to “fight for” Williams.
“There are some rules for some and then there are rules for others,” she said.
“I can only go by my experience. When a certain person gets attacked, it is a problem. They went overboard in doing that to Ms. Williams.”
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