City officials want to dismiss a public lewdness charge against an 81-year-old woman accused of urinating in a public park when she couldn’t make it to a bathroom.
Municipal prosecutors in Mobile filed a motion Wednesday to throw out the charge against Lula Mae Battle. The request came amid a public outcry over the arrest of Battle, who suffers from incontinence problems.
“Thank you, Jesus. Glory, Hallelujah!” Battle told the Press-Register newspaper after learning of the city’s motion.
Municipal Court administrator Pete Peterson said Thursday the judge would likely rule on the city’s motion to throw out the case on Sept. 15, the day Battle is scheduled for trial.
Battle has said she was at her bank, next to Bienville Square in downtown Mobile, on June 3 when a teller refused to let her use the bathroom. Battle tried to make it to a public restroom across the park but couldn’t get there in time.
The woman lost control of her bladder as she walked, so she ducked into bushes next to a small building. But the building was a one-room police substation manned by a cadet, who called for an officer and had her arrested.
The woman was taken to jail, booked on a charge of public lewdness and released on $500 bail. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three months in jail and a $500 fine.
In anticipation of a trial, Battle said she had been saving money. She wasn’t able to pay her phone bill, so the service was cut off.
“I was trying to save,” she told the newspaper.
Police said they’ve had a persistent problem with people urinating in the downtown park. City attorney Larry Wettermark said the officer “quite correctly” charged Battle with public lewdness.
“Now, when it comes to the prosecutor’s office, we can look at it,” he said. “If there was genuinely a misunderstanding or an accident, the city is not interested in prosecuting or pushing that kind of case.
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