Bessie Small and her family had finished up a Sunday supper of soup, corn, green peas and fatback. Then she headed to bed between 11 o'clock and midnight.
"I woke up in a turmoil," she said on Monday.
The 74-year-old Small said law enforcement officers used excessive force while executing a search warrant at her home in Haymount.
Fayetteville Police Chief Thomas Bergamine, reached at his home on Monday night, said: "We have received no complaint of officers using excessive force. However, if there's a report of officers using excessive force, we will fully investigate it."
A Fayetteville police watch commander who did not want to be quoted by name called it a mutual aid search warrant.
"We used the same safety tactics as we do on all search warrants where there's a situation of high risk," he said.
Fayetteville police agreed to help Cumberland County ABC officers attempting to arrest Larry Everett on warrants of trafficking cocaine, the watch commander said.
Over the last month, the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office dismissed murder charges against Everett, Small's 24-year-old grandson. He is now wanted on the drug-related charges, according to the watch commander.
"They say they were looking for my grandson," Small said. "My grandson has not stayed here for about two years. If they had told me they was the police, I would have got up and let them in. Anybody would tell them nobody lives here but me."
Small said a "a squad team or something" grabbed her out of her bed early Sunday morning, handcuffed her, held a gun to her face and ransacked her house for no apparent reason. During the home invasion, she said, the agents busted her front and bathroom doors, broke a fan, kicked out a window in her dining room, cracked her large-screen television set and snatched a fire alarm out of the wall.
"They just did me trouble," she said.
A daughter, the daughter's husband, a granddaughter and great-grandson, visiting from New York, were in the house at the time.
Small, who said she suffered a heart attack less than 10 years ago and now takes heart medication, complained of some chest pains a day later. She said one of her arms hurt where she had been grabbed.
"They busted the door and ran into my room," she said, "and grabbed me by my arm and pulled me to the living room and put their feet in my back and mushed my face in the chair. They treated me just like a dog, and I've never been in any trouble all my life."
By Monday evening, her son-in-law, George Williams, had placed Plexiglass over the broken window to keep the mosquitoes out. He said he had repaired the front door, too. But shattered pieces of the bathroom door were still scattered on the floor.
Small said the officers did not apologize.
"I want justice to be done," she said. "If it wasn't for the help of the Lord, I would have had a heart attack. I never been in no mess like that."
September 8, 2009
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