Single Mom Thrown in Jail for Overgrown Lawn

Ebony Conner's 5 kids waited at their Illinois home while she cleared things up
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2016 6:16 PM CDT
Single Mom Thrown in Jail for Overgrown Lawn
Ebony Conner   (KMOV)

An Illinois woman with five kids was arrested July 7 and briefly thrown in jail for an offense that the town of Cahokia obviously feels strongly about: not mowing her lawn, the Week reports. Single mom Ebony Conner tells KMOV she was verbally warned by a municipal code-enforcement officer back in June and also told to get rid of garbage and broken-down cars from her driveway—but she thought she had more time to fix things, and she definitely didn't think she'd be hauled off to jail. "I understand I violated a code, but … give me a ticket first, make me appear in court," she says. "I know there's gotta be channels other than, 'If you don't cut your grass, we're arresting you right now.'" Conner says she hails from Wisconsin and has spent time in St. Louis, Mo., and she'd never heard of such a thing in either place.

While she was detained (cops say she was held for about a half-hour in jail), her five children remained at home, with just a code enforcement officer patrolling the outside of her house, Conner says, adding, "I said 'I don't trust him. I don't know him at all.' … And they still hauled me off." She says she would've cut her grass by hand if she had known her long grass was an arrestable offense. The Institute for Justice lists similar cases that some consider to be an abuse of municipal code enforcement, including those in the town of Pagedale, Mo., where residents can be slammed with fines and tickets for such offenses as barbecuing in front of one's house, having mismatched curtains, and walking on the left-hand side of a crosswalk. (Postal workers mow residents' lawns in Finland.)

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