Woman With Down Syndrome Spends Night In Jail

NewsChannel 9 is digging deeper into an unusual arrest in Rhea County we first told you about Thursday night. The suspect is a 48-year-old woman with Down Syndrome who was charged with domestic assault and detained in the Rhea County Jail.

Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal insists his men did nothing wrong but disability advocates said there were other options. The story came to light when a viewer sent us a link to a mug shot and they questioned whether the woman should have ever been taken to jail.

The mug shot was taken Wednesday night at the Rhea County Jail showing the woman cuddling a doll. We’re concealing her face to protect her identity. She was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail charged with domestic assault.

Laura Compton, Director of ARC of Hamilton County, said “in an ideal world no, she should not have been arrested.”

That echoes what we’ve heard from several intellectual disability advocates who have seen or heard about the mug shot.


ADDED: This, this right here… is why America hates its cops.

This is also why our Judges, Magistrates and Judicial Commissioners have powers of discretion. But it seems the only time the cops and our judges want to go the extra mile in any criminal case is when one of their own is accused of a crime. If this person was violent she should have been taken to a hospital and evaluated by a physician.

Rhea County you should be ashamed of yourselves!


One Response to “Woman With Down Syndrome Spends Night In Jail”

  1. AlgerHiss Says:

    I used to believe that a county sheriff was the last bastion of decent civilian peace keeping: The sheriff is elected directly, ergo is closer to being a regular citizen. Unlike a sphincter-kissing police chief, a sheriff could/would tell the usual politician to get bent.

    I even hoped for a day when a sheriff would stand tall and tell a FBI/DEA/ATF agent that this county was his, and they’d best not get out of line or they’d find themselves with their own arrest record. (No, not like the era of KKK infestation, but something refined via age, experience and knowledge.)

    What a fool I was. They’ve become just as corrupt, rigid and militarized as the rest. All that grant money and free equipment from the military…and endless erosion of things like the Fourth Amendment, have just about ruined them.

    Oh, the website for this Sheriff Neal character:


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