Did Georgia police officers really take lesbian Amanda Booker to an “ex-gay” evangelist when they should have taken her to drug rehab? That’s what Booker alleges in a lawsuit she’s filed against members of the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department. Her story has all the makings of a nightmare: false arrest, separation from her family and girlfriend, an unrelenting lieutenant who follows her around like a psychopath, and a still untreated drug addiction that continues to rack her body and mind.
When Booker’s family called the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department to get her psychiatric care for her drug addiction, Booker began having seizures in the squad care and the deputy transported her to Cartersville Medical Center. While there, Booker alleges Lieutenant Mark Mayton began “harassing Ms. Booker, making numerous threats concerning her lesbian relationship with her partner… [forbidding] Ms. Booker from having a lesbian relationship and [ordering] Ms. Booker not to contact her partner.”
Booker then claims that Lt. Mayton personally transported her to the private residence of Chris and Donna McDowell, two self-described “evangelists” paid $600 in county funds “to attempt to convert Ms. Booker from being a lesbian.” Booker escaped after several days and ran back to her mother’s house where she alleges that Lt. Mayton came to arrest her and in the process slammed her against his squad car and lifted up her shirt to expose her bare breasts.
Booker filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department and Mr. and Mrs. McDowell in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. The lawuit alleges:
“At all times relevant to this action, it was normal procedure, practice and custom of defendants Bartow County, Brown, and Milsap to punish homosexuals and persons holding different religious beliefs.”
The lawsuit further states that it was also the normal procedure for Bartow County officials named in the suit to “harass homosexuals taken into custody, to mandate that homosexuals taken into custody refrain from living as homosexuals, and to forbid them from maintaining any homosexual relationships.”
Booker’s attorney Anthony Perrotta says that she has since been “incarcerated in South Georgia at Pulaski State Prison since October after the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department arrested her and charged her for, among other things, damage to a police vehicle.” Perrotta says that he’d like to get her out of prison and into drug rehab where she can receive the treatment she needs.
Bartow Country Sheriff Clark Milsap said of the suit, “I haven’t been served. But, no ma’am, that is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” chuckling before adding he had no comment.
Ms. Booker’s allegations sound almost too horrific to be true—Lt. Mayton sounds like an absolute monster! Of course, if this sort of harassment is as common as Booker says, perhaps her legal counsel can find one or two other arrestees to help validate her claim.