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Woman claims she was wrongly detained in apartment lobby, files complaint against Montgomery County Police

The woman who did not share her name says she filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Police Department and wants someone held accountable.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — What was supposed to be a quick trip downstairs to grab food Tuesday afternoon, turned into what one Silver Spring woman called a traumatic experience. The woman, who declined to share her name or appear on camera, claims she was wrongfully detained and handcuffed in the lobby of her apartment complex.

The woman has lived at Thayer and Spring in downtown Silver Spring for just under a year. On Tuesday, she says she was approached by three non-uniformed Montgomery County Police officers

“As three strange people approached me, naturally I just stated this is not my name and continued to keep walking,” she said.

She says she did not understand what was happening in the moment, nor did she understand that the men were officers. 

“I kind of realized something was off, but still no one had addressed themselves as officers or explained what exactly was happening," she said. "So, when I'm cornered at this point, I'm like, ‘Oh, let me give them something to prove that I'm not this name that they keep referring to me as.' But honestly, what was really running through my mind was 'I hope they don't kill me. I hope that this doesn't go so far that I end up in the back of the car and in somebody's station.'" 

Montgomery County Police sent the following statement to WUSA9: 

“Detectives were involved in a human trafficking investigation, which still remains ongoing. The individual, in this case, was detained and placed in handcuffs based on information that she was a wanted suspect. After a few minutes, Detectives determined that she was not the wanted person we were looking for. A supervisor on scene spoke with the individual and explained why she was detained, and was provided with the investigator's information (name and phone) and a case number. Generally speaking, officers are not required to advise someone of their Miranda rights until they are interrogating a suspect who is in custody. Because this is still an active human trafficking investigation, we can not provide much further information on the intended suspect and the nature of the case.”

The woman said she is scarred mentally from the fear of what-ifs.

“You can't do anything, all your power is stripped from you," she said. "I can't do anything. My words are not enough. I'm telling you something, that's not enough. I have evidence and it's not enough. So, if none of that is enough what is?” 

She’s since filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Police Department and is hoping someone is held accountable, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“The apologies from all the officers that I saw were disgustingly nonchalant," she said. 'It was referred to as an inconvenience. That's a traumatic event. That's a ridiculous and horrible proof of sheer negligence of officer's not doing their due diligence. And to me, I think that's completely inappropriate to be diminished as an inconvenience to my afternoon."

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