By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
On Sept. 10, Alexis Bell had an accident with her car when she drove into a pot hole at Howe and Brunel streets. Her car was damaged in the calamity.
Bell told the Waycross City Commission Tuesday that when a city police officer responded to her location, he was rude and “had an attitude” and tried to make her say the accident didn’t happen as she had said.
“The officer was very rude and he pulled on the damage (part of the car),” she said. “I put my hand on his arm in a non-offensive way and he wrote an incorrect report. I was highly suspicious then that on Sept. 12, the pot hole that had been blocked (by traffic cones) for two months was suddenly fixed and the cones moved.
“I feel I was highly disrespected and was treated as a stereo-typical black female,” Bell told the board. “I filed a formal complaint with the WPD but Chief Tanner said it has not been completed.”
Police Chief Tony Tanner assured the commission the incident is being investigated and that the board would get a full report of the findings.
Bell’s sister, Kim, 10, also told about how the accident happened as Alexis Bell had picked her up to take her to school and then the car “fell into the pot hole” and was damaged.
“The officer who came, he had a attitude, a tone, he didn’t like that he had to be there. He wanted to seem like she touched him in a rude way,” said Kim Bell.
Larry Rood, the father of Alexis Bell, told the board it grieves him “to have to come before them” but that he was concerned his daughter received unfair treatment, that the police were rude and intimidating to her.
“The police came to the agreement that she was not telling the truth, and all she wanted was a police report for her insurance,” said Rood.
Although the race of the officer was never stated, it was intimated he was not black. Bell is black.
“Then two days after the accident, that road was fixed after having been blocked off for two months,” said Rood. “It seems like a cover-up to me. We need more officers of color.”
City engineer Jessica Deal said the spot on the road had been marked for repair but because of recent heavy rains the pavement could not be placed as it needed time to cure and to dry.
“We finally filled it with concrete base and laid asphalt over it to correct the problem,” said Deal.