Mother charged with felony cruelty to children after pepper spraying son during argument in Dalton
According to o a Dalton Police Department incident report, Saturday, June 20th, 2020, at around 3:45 PM Officer Mefford and Officer Porter responded to 98 West Walnut Avenue in reference to a dispute between a mother and her son. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Mefford viewed a white SUV with a boy sitting on the hood of the vehicle and hitting the windshield parked near the gas pumps of the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Officer Mefford got out of his patrol car and advised the boy, tо get off the hood of the vehicle. He stated the did not want to get off because his mother, identified as Romanita Parks, 30 of Chicago, IL, would leave him. Officer Mefford told him that he was going to be ok. He then got off the hood of the car to speak with the officer. The boy stated that he and his mother were arguing because she was not letting him have any food. He said that he had not had anything to eat since morning. He said that Romanita got food for herself and his sister, he stated that Romanita was eating in front of him and she was smiling at him. He said he felt like she was laughing at him, and he got mad. While Officer Mefford was speaking to the boy about what had happened, he advised that Romanita pepper-sprayed him. At that point, the officer realized his eyes were closed. He was unable to open his eyes while the officer tried to rinse them out with water. The officer then had EMS dispatched to the scene to treat the boy. Officer Mefford asked Romanita why she pepper-sprayed her son; she stated that he threw cake at her. She also advised that he attacked her. The officer explained that she could not pepper spray her son for that reason. She said that she had been told to pepper spray him by another police officer. She stated it was an officer in Georgia, but did not know a name or where he was an officer. Officer Mefford told her that she was against the law and could not do that. Officer Mefford told her if she felt threatened, she should have called 911. Romanita was then placed into handcuffs while officers further investigated the incident. Officer Mefford was able to view footage from the security cameras at the gas station. In the footage, he could see Romanita and her son arguing with each other. He noticed after a long time of arguing, Romanita get into her vehicle and lock the doors. She would not let her son in the vehicle. The boy circled around the vehicle, trying to get in from each door. As he was at the passenger door trying to get in, Romanita began pulling away from the gas pump. The boy then jumped on the hood of the vehicle. Officer Mefford then spoke with the 911 caller. Who stated that he saw Romanita pepper spray her son. He said that he tried to stay out of the incident and didn't want to get involved, but when she drove off with her son on the hood of the car, he decided to call 911. Officer Porter spoke to the Department of Family and Children Services. A caseworker was sent out to the location to help find a relative to take custody of the boy. They did find a relative that was close, but they were not able to come due to past drug history. Officer Porter transported Romanita to the Whitfield County Jail charged with cruelty to children in the 1st degree, cruelty to children in the 3rd degree, and reckless endangerment. The DFCS Caseworker took custody of both the boy and girl.