Grandmother facing battery charges after slapping granddaughter for mouthing off
Largo, Florida — The arrest of a 73-year-old grandmother has some asking… where do you draw the line when it comes to punishing unruly teens?
Theresa Collier says she’s never been in trouble her entire life, but this week, the grandmother found herself behind bars in the Pinellas County Jail after slapping her granddaughter for swearing at her.
“My heart’s going like this. I just thought I was going to die. I wanted to crawl in a hole,” Collier told 10 Connects, as she broke down in tears.
Collier says she invited her 18-year-old granddaughter, Felicia Collier, to her house so she could use her computer to do homework.
Felicia is finishing her senior year online after getting kicked out of Catholic school in Massachusetts, Collier explained.
“She said F-off to a nun! I would just crawl into a hole,” said Collier.
On Tuesday, the newly turned 18-year-old did not want to obey her commands to complete her assignments.
“She kept repeating the F-word to me, about the whole family. She just went on and on and I just got so upset, I got up and slapped her across the face,” she told 10 Connects, “She grabbed my wrists and I couldn’t get out of it and she let one go and she punched me in the cheek here.”
Felicia then called police to her grandmother’s home, but even the teenager couldn’t have imagined what happened next.
“The two officers came to each side of me and before I know it, they have my arms and they said, ‘You’re under arrest,’ and they cuff me,” Collier said tearfully.
Despite Felicia Collier’s attempts to convince police not to arrest her grandmother, the officers took the woman into custody.
Theresa Collier describes the next 24 hours in jail as the worst hours of her life.
“I went to medical, they take my blood pressure, it was sky high and he says, my God! And I said, ‘Can you blame my blood pressure?’ ” said Collier.
“My wife of 52 years went to Catholic Parochial school, went to church, she’s a good strong Catholic and raised four kids and no one ever spoke to her like that,” said her husband, Walter Collier.
While Collier’s arrest seems out of line, under the law, a battery was committed.
“Legally she’s 18-years-old, so while I understand the difference between corporal punishment on a child, disciplining your child for using poor language, this is an 18-year-old child,” said Lt. Mike Loux, with the Largo Police Department.
Lt. Loux says his department has a mandatory arrest policy when it comes to domestic violence calls, so someone had to go to jail.
“If an officer on scene finds probable cause to arrest a person, because they’ve committed domestic battery, then our policy is a mandatory arrest of that person,” said Lt. Loux, “The discretion does not come because the victim does not want to prosecute. It doesn’t come because the victim has remorse for calling police.”
Felicia Collier was in court on Wednesday for her grandmother’s first appearance and signed a form to not only not prosecute, but allow contact with her grandmother.
This still does not change the pending charges against Collier, who now has to wait for her next day in court and whether prosecutors will pursue the charge against her.
“I think it’s ridiculous. We’re hurt so bad, I’m so scared she’s going to have a heart attack or a stroke over this. She doesn’t sleep, she bursts into tears and I’m almost doing it now,” said Walter Collier.
They haven’t spoken to their granddaughter since the incident.
Further complicating things, the couple only lives in Largo part-time. They have plane tickets to head home to New Hampshire next week and are not unsure if it’s a good idea they return since Collier has yet to have her next day in court set.
“What are they going to do? Send me back in,” said Collier, pointing toward the jail.