Georgia Woman Files Lawsuit Against Tennessee After Her Children Are Taken During Traffic Stop

A Georgia mother has taken legal action in Tennessee after a traumatic experience during a routine traffic stop, which led to the separation of her children from her custody for an extended period. The lawsuit, filed against the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) troopers, and Department of Children’s Services (DCS) employees, is in response to an incident that took place in February of 2023.

Deonte Williams, Bianca Clayborne, and their five children were on their way to a funeral in Chicago when THP troopers pulled them over on I-24 for a minor traffic violation. While conducting the traffic stop, the troopers found a small amount of marijuana and a firearm in Clayborne’s possession. As a result, Williams, who was a convicted felon, was arrested.

Troopers initially planned to entrust the children to Clayborne’s care. However, they ended up escorting the entire family to the Coffee County Jail, where they handed them over to DCS. According to the lawsuit, DCS and local law enforcement officials forcefully separated the children from Clayborne and placed them in foster care for a period of 55 days.

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The family experienced emotional distress due to the traumatic ordeal, as emphasized by Clayborne’s attorney. The detention was deemed unfair and had a profound impact on the bonds within the family. This incident has brought attention to the excessive involvement of law enforcement and child welfare agencies in minor infraction cases, underscoring the importance of increased transparency and accountability in handling such situations.

Clayborne’s attorney emphasizes the urgent need to seek justice for the family and prevent similar injustices from happening again. As the legal process continues, the lawsuit serves as a powerful reminder of the serious repercussions that result from systemic failures in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. It highlights the importance of protecting the rights and welfare of individuals and families, especially in vulnerable situations where the actions of authorities can have profound and devastating effects.

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