Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta is calling for the firing of Roswell police officer Jim Van Alstine after he fractured the jaw of a 24 year old woman during a traffic stop. According to BLM “it could have easily been another Sandra Bland case”, referring to the 28 year old woman who was found dead in a jail cell after being pulled over for a traffic stop last year.
Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant has reportedly said that Officer Van Alstine “didn’t intend to fracture Shanita Maeberry’s jaw during a recent marijuana bust.” Van Alstine remains on the job while the November 11th incident is under investigation. Maeberry had apparently been pulled over on Alpharetta Highway when police apparently smelled marijuana. Reports indicate that when an officer attempted to search Maeberry’s purse, she resisted. Roswell police spokeswoman Lisa Holland is quoted as saying the officer struck her in the face “to gain control.”
In an email being distributed by Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, the group says the officer “sucker punched Maeberry’s jaw line breaking her jaw in two places.” As a result, the email goes on to indicate that, as a result of the officer’s punch, Maeberry’s entire mouth is “wired shut.” The group is demanding that Van Alstine be fired and that Obstruction and Possession of Marijuana charges against Maeberry be dropped. Says BLM, “When confronted by this black educated woman he lost his cool and broke her jaw.”