MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman is traumatized after she was accidentally caught up in an ATF raid Tuesday morning.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were looking for several suspects wanted on state warrants when they smashed into the wrong room at the Home 1 Extended Stay motel on American Way.
“I was scared. I thought I was going to die,” Yvonne Collins said. “I was asleep. I heard the crashing door, the crashing window, I jumped up — ATF was in the window pointing rifles at me.”
Collins says before she could identify herself, a female agent grabbed her.
“She snatched me and pushed me up against the wall,” Collins said. “Grabbed my hands behind my back, handcuffed me, took me outside, telling me, ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground.'”
Collins said she wasn’t allowed to get properly dressed.
“I had a T-shirt and a pair of panties on. No shoes, nothing.”
During the confusion, Collins says she kept asking the same question over and over: “‘What do ya’ll want, what’s going on?’ And they just said, ‘We’re looking for somebody,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re not looking for me, I haven’t done anything for you to look for me.'”
According to an ATF spokesperson, agents with state warrants in hand were attempting to locate four suspects.
Collins says agents finally determined they had the wrong room and released her, then located their four suspects on the third floor of the motel.
And what did agents have to say to Collins about the mix up?
“All they kept saying was ‘Whoops, you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time,'” Collins said. “I just wanted an apology.”
Wednesday, damage was still evident at the motel. A maintenance worker said agents broke out windows, then beat in a door and “tore it out of the frame.”
The ATF Nashville Field Division issued this statement:
“The ATF had lawful reasons to be at the location and was working under good faith. The occupant of the room in question was initially detained for officer safety reasons but released once the agents realized that she was not a part of the investigation.
“The ATF communicated with hotel management and provided them with information to reconcile the damages.”