published Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Clerical errors lead to a night in Hamilton County Jail cell for Brainerd woman

A series of clerical errors landed a Brainerd woman in jail for several hours Sunday morning in a case of mistaken identity.

Brittney L. Boyd, a 28-year-old white woman from Chattanooga, was arrested in East Ridge early Sunday morning on a 2008 "failure to appear" warrant for a Brittany F. Boyd, a 26-year-old black woman from Riverdale, Ga.

"I thought you were innocent until proven guilty, but now I know that's not true; quite the opposite, in fact," Brittney Boyd said. "I'm angry, because even after finding out that the warrant was not for me, my picture was still displayed on Right2Know and in Just Busted. It's an inconvenience that put me behind in school and at work, and was just a very embarrassing situation."

But that wasn't the last inconvenience Boyd would suffer before the episode was over.

Boyd was a passenger in a car involved in an accident at the intersection of Frawley Street and Germantown Road in East Ridge around 11:55 p.m. Saturday. During the investigation, Officer A. Hewitt relayed Boyd's driver's license number to Hamilton County dispatch, along with her name, date of birth and race, according to the East Ridge Police Department offense report. Brittney Boyd's first name was listed as "Brittany" on that report.

She was arrested at 12:36 a.m. after a dispatcher told Hewitt that she had an active warrant from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Upon arrival at the Hamilton County Jail, Hewitt was told that the jail could not locate the warrant. According to the report, Hewitt provided Boyd's name and birth date and attempted to verify the warrant.

Boyd was taken to be booked, and Hewitt was advised that he could leave, according to the report. However, about 6:30 a.m., Hewitt was notified by dispatch that the warrant was invalid and that he would need to pick Boyd up at the county jail.

Boyd said she was kept for hours in a holding cell with more than a dozen other women and not enough blankets to go around.

Finally, a jail official brought her out of the cell, handed her a paper containing Brittany Boyd's mugshot and information, and told her that was why she had been arrested.

Georgia's Brittany Boyd had initially been charged with criminal impersonation for using a false name to return stolen merchandise at the Hamilton Place Belk store on April 5, 2008, according to her arrest affidavit.

The charges against Brittney L. Boyd then were dismissed.

But her ordeal wasn't over.

Though Hewitt had been advised to pick her up, he had been told by superiors in East Ridge not to do so, according to her arrest report. It stated that Hewitt had called the jail and told them he would not be picking up Boyd.

So when Boyd left the jail about 7:30 a.m., she had no transportation.

She walked to work in North Chattanooga. Later in the day she had to get a ride from a friend back to East Ridge to get her backpack from police.

The next day found her explaining to her mom and others who had seen her mug shot that she really hadn't been "just busted."

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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