(HOUSTON) — A Houston woman who was arrested after she attempted to warn drivers about a speed trap is receiving support across the nation after her story went viral.
More than two weeks ago, as she rode her bicycle home from a grocery store near downtown Houston, Natalie Plummer noticed police officers pulling over speeders.
After she parked her bike and turned one of her grocery bags into a makeshift sign warning drivers about the “speed trap” ahead, an officer drove up and arrested her. She was jailed for 12 hours.
Since the incident, Plummer’s Facebook page continues to generate more “likes” and said that a few people have offered to help pay her legal fees.
On Saturday, some of Plummer’s Houston neighbors gathered to protest her arrest and support her cause, standing up for what they believe was just a neighbor doing a good deed, not a criminal act.
“If you have a sign and you want to sit anywhere and you want to warn people of anything, cops or otherwise, I don’t see what’s the damage of that,” said Evan Carroll, a protester.
Plummer said she was standing up for her fellow citizens.
“I guess you could say I was standing up for all of them, because we’re all citizens, we’re all drivers. And pretty much the majority, where there is a speed trap,” Plummer said.
“I was completely abiding by the law,” Plummer told ABC’s affiliate KRTK. “I was simply warning citizens of a situation ahead.”
But Houston police saw it differently, and arrested Plummer for standing in the street where there a sidewalk was present, a misdemeanor charge.
Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said that officers found Plummer standing in the street, waving her arms as she held the sign.
But Plummer denied ever leaving the sidewalk on West Dallas Street, alleging that the arresting officer invented a reason to detain her.
“He couldn’t take me to jail for holding up this sign or he would have. So all he could do was make up something fake about it,” Plummer told KRTK. The officer searched Plummer’s backpack, she said, and threatened to arrest her for obstructing justice, a felony charge.
Michael Dirden, Houston’s executive assistant police chief, said in a statement that if Plummer believes the police acted inappropriately, she should file a complaint with the department’s internal affairs division.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Max Blau and Chandrika Narayan, CNN
Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, CNN
Steve Visser, CNN