COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta woman said Cobb County Police wrongfully detained her and her two children after mistaking her for an armed robber.
Attorneys for Deondra Hawkins said they are calling for a full investigation, even after Cobb County Police said they may have not been involved.
Officers explained they were called to an armed robbery at a T-Mobile along Riverside Parkway on March 18. After the robbery, a man with a pistol was seen running across the street to a shopping center parking lot, according to a department news release. Police said one of the victims of the robbery told officers that the man then ran from the parking lot into a white Hyundai Sonata.
Less than an hour later, police found the vehicle at a RaceTrac gas station on Austell Road. Police did a traffic stop on a vehicle that matched the witness's description.
Hawkins was called out of the vehicle and handcuffed, police said. They added that shortly after, Hawkins' teenage daughter and her son came out of the convenience store and were also detained.
Attorneys for Hawkins shared video of the incident. Hawkins is seen putting her hands up behind a police vehicle outside of the RaceTrac. Moments later, an officer is seen pulling her 14-year-old daughter aside to detain her. The girl is heard screaming in the video as law enforcement yanks her away.
"I was in handcuffs," Hawkins said. "My daughter ran towards me -- I was trying to get them to remain where they were."
Hawkins choked up as she explained her son was told to get on the ground, adding officers separated her children from each other.
"They were separated from me," she said. "And it's very traumatizing to even think about it."
In a news release, Cobb County Police said they were investigating the robbery based on witness and victim statements.
"Although the detainees confirmed they had left the shopping center located across the street from the armed robbery in their white Hyundai as the witness described, officers released the detainees at the scene concluding they may not have been involved," the department said.
The mother of two expressed frustration over the situation, calling the matter an act of negligence.
"They didn't tell us anything," she said. "They said they were looking for a tall, slim, suspect. Well, I just find it peculiar that neither myself or my children fit the description, so I don't understand why it escalated the way that it did."