When I spoke to Shanita Maeberry in November 2016, though her mouth was wired shut, she said that she’d done nothing that warranted Roswell (GA) police officer James Van Alstine hitting her in the mouth. Her jaw was broken on both sides. She’d been pulled over, according to the officer, after he smelled marijuana coming from her car.
Maeberry was calling for justice then, and cousin April Showers says they’re still seeking that justice. Van Alstine has been exonerated of allegations that he used excessive force during the confrontation with Maeberry on November 9. According to Showers, “It didn’t call for a man to literally punch a female in the mouth.”
Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta had called for Van Alstine to be fired.
The officer’s attorney, Scott Poole, is quoted as saying “In a situation like that, the officer has the ability to defend himself”. The attorney says that Van Alstine did not intend to break Maeberry’s jaw.