One month after a Tennessee Department Highway Patrol Officer pulled over Deonte Williams and Bianca Clayborne, who were on their way to attend a family funeral in Chicago on Interstate 24, for “dark tint and traveling in the left lane while not actively passing,” they are still fighting to get back possession of their five kids who were asleep in the back of their car. The children were taken into custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS).
The Patrol Officer searched the family’s Dodge Durango and then arrested Deonte Williams for possession of five grams of marijuana, the Tennessee Lookout reported. His wife was cited for not being arrested.
The mother of the children was told she was free to go and take her children but she soon learned that the Department of Children Services had obtained an emergency court order to place the five children in state custody. One of the five young children is still breastfeeding.
Now, a month after the incident, the family is still struggling to get their children back and claims that they have been unfairly subjected to multiple drug tests, including a rapid hair follicle test.
Jamaal Boykin, attorney for the family has called the action of the DCS “abnormal and a violation of the parent’s rights.”
“It’s just so shocking to the conscience that in 2023 this is happening,” the attorney said.
“I just have to believe if my clients looked different or had a different background, they would have just been given a citation and told you just keep this stuff away from the kids while you’re in this state and they’d be on their way.”
Tennesee Sen. London Lamar called D-Memphis has called for the immediate release of the children to the parent. Addressing a press conference, the Senator called the actions of the Tennesee Police Department an “overuse of power.”
“The Coffee County justice system was absolutely out of line for taking their children over a misdemeanor charge, without even filing a petition yet to take those children,” Lamar said.
“It is absolutely ridiculous when marijuana is legal in about half the states in the country, and a Black family got five of their children taken away, put into DCS that is not doing a good job taking care of the children they already have,” Lamar said. “And they won’t give them their children back for a misdemeanor charge.”