PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Southwest Philadelphia woman has enlisted the help of the NAACP to challenge an arrest and criminal charges stemming from a warrant execution gone wrong.
Wednesday was Nicol Newman’s 48th birthday. But instead of planning a celebration, she was planning her defense. She attended a press conference to publicly speak out against alleged mistreatment by police.READ MORE: Southwest Philadelphia Block Renamed After Rev. Paul 'Earthquake' Moore
“This is such a shock to me because I held police in such high regard,” she told reporters, with tears in her eyes. “I had to ask myself if I had done something wrong, even though I knew that I didn’t.”
Attorney Michael Coard claims several police officers attempted to execute an arrest warrant for his client’s son related a non-violent theft on March 9th. He says when Newman told police her wasn’t at her Southwest Philadelphia home and refused to allow them inside without search warrant, she was arrested and thrown behind bars.
“She’s a grandmother at home, law-abiding, city social worker,” says Coard, who is representing Newman pro bono. “She gets grabbed out of her own house, she gets manhandled, she gets handcuffed.”
Newman is charged with disorderly conduct and has a hearing scheduled for Thursday. But Coard says she will not accept a plea, instead he’ll demand a full trial.
“By definition you cannot engage in disorderly conduct in your own house,” he says.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross says he just learned of Newman’s claims this week, but an Internal Affairs investigation is already underway.READ MORE: Commuters Make Backup Plans Ahead Of SEPTA Strike Vote
“It’s unfortunate that it unfolded in this way,” he says, “but the investigation will bear out what it will bear out.”
He says officers were lawfully at Newman’s home to execute the warrant and take issue with any allegation that they injured her.
Newman says she has a rare autoimmune disorder and was humiliated by police.
“I was treated like I robbed a bank and I was running down the street with the die pack,” she says.
NAACP President Rodney Muhammad says they’ll stand beside Newman because they do not want to wait for a death or beating to call out injustice.
“If we trivialize this case, we lose our moral authority to address any case,” he says.MORE NEWS: Camden County Voters Trickle In As New Jersey Starts Early Voting For The First Time
The DA’s office declined to comment.