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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 July 2007, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
US woman arrested over dry lawn
Map showing Orem city, Utah
A 70-year-old US woman has been left bruised and bloody after an unexpected clash with police who came to caution her for not watering her lawn.

Trouble flared when Utah pensioner Betty Perry, 70, refused to give her name after being upbraided because her garden breached local regulations.

She says the officer hit her with handcuffs, cutting her nose, although police insist she slipped and fell.

Ms Perry said she was "distraught" after the incident.

He's just trying to cover his tracks, as far as I'm concerned
Betty Perry

She denied accusations she was resisting arrest, maintaining that she only turned to go inside to call her son to fix the confusing dispute.

"I tried to sit down and get away from him [the police officer]," she told Utah newspaper the Daily Herald.

"I don't know what he's doing. I said: 'What are you doing?' And he hit me with those handcuffs in my face," she said.

"He's just trying to cover his tracks, as far as I'm concerned."

Set free

The officer had judged that Ms Perry's "sadly neglected and dying landscape" breached an Orem city guideline and was attempting to issue a formal caution when the 70-year-old was injured.

She was treated in a local hospital for the cut to her nose and for other bruises before being taken to jail.

But she was let go when police realised there were "other ways" of finding out her identity without jailing her, a police spokesman said

The arresting officer has not been named but has been placed on administrative leave, he added.

Ms Perry, who says she has never had a run-in with police in the past, has been offered help by local church leaders to clean up her garden.

"I'm very distraught over all this," she said.

"I can't believe this happened. Do you ever just wish you could start your day over and it would all be different?"




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