An Athens-Clarke County police officer’s career is in limbo after she allegedly assaulted her 16-year-old daughter with a broom.
Laura Jean Motes, 44, was arrested Sunday on a misdemeanor charge of battery under the state Family Violence Act, according to an Oconee County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Just before 1:30 p.m. Dec. 29, authorities received a 911 call from someone at Motes’ Watkinsville home. Before the call was disconnected, dispatchers heard arguing in the background and Oconee deputies went to the residence in the 1000 block of Willowynd Way.
Once there, deputies found Motes’ daughter with welts on her arms, a red mark on her forehead, swelling on her thumb, a small red spot on her stomach and a bleeding wound on her ankle.
She told deputies that Motes hit her in the head and stomach with a broom and kicked her after an argument about the girl’s whereabouts the previous night, according to the report.
She tried to escape to a neighbor’s home, but Motes followed her outside, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back inside the residence, the teen told authorities.
The dispute, Motes told deputies, did start over her daughter’s conduct the previous night, according to the incident report.
But that was where the similarities in their stories ended.
Motes said she was sweeping when her daughter kicked the broom and attempted to take it, according to the report. During a struggle, Motes said the broom may have struck her daughter.
After the struggle, she said the teen took her car keys and ran outside the residence, according to the report. Motes caught her, but she tried to leave a second time. When Motes attempted to bring her back inside, the girl went limp and resisted, according to the report.
Motes said she had no choice but to drag her daughter by her hair in order to get her inside, according to the report.
Motes said that she “did not intentionally strike her (daughter) with the broom and that any injuries her daughter received must (have) come from their struggle with the broom,” according to the report.
One of the deputies wrote in the report that he “found it hard to believe that a close quarters struggle over a broom that resulted in one party receiving numerous injuries did not also injure the other party.” He determined Motes to be the primary aggressor, arrested her and took her to the Oconee County Jail.
A family friend was contacted to pick up the teen and Motes’ other daughter, who was in the basement at the time of the incident and did not see or hear anything. The Department of Family and Children’s Services was also notified.
Motes was later released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
Athens-Clarke County Assistant Police Chief Fred Stephens told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Motes met with department officials Monday and was placed on administrative leave with pay until the conclusion of an internal investigation.
Motes’ career may be in danger because of the incident, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Although the charge is a misdemeanor, it is illegal to own or use a gun after being convicted of any family violence.