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Texas Army Vet Jailed for AWOL Accusation

National

Sergeant First Class Shantaya Williams | Image by CBS DFW

Military veteran Sgt. First Class Shantaya Clarice Williams, 49, is now awaiting trial after being arrested for allegedly deserting the U.S. Army and going absent without leave (AWOL), charges that her attorney says are trumped up because she is a whistleblower.

Williams was held in the county jail awaiting transfer into the custody of the U.S. Army. She is facing a possible five-year sentence and a dishonorable discharge if convicted of the charges.

Williams said her arrest on December 1, which she alleges included having her front door kicked off its hinges as she breastfed her infant child, was based on a medical transfer technicality and a U.S. Army human resources error.

Sean Timmons, Williams’ attorney and a former Fort Worth army prosecutor, said Williams is not guilty of the charges of AWOL and desertion and believes her gunpoint arrest should outrage all Americans.

“Completely unnecessary,” he told CBS News. “That is the kind of behavior reserved for fugitive murderers, cop killers, hardened criminals.”

“I was hunted down like a dog,” Williams told CBS News from the detention center.

Timmons said Williams went through the proper channels to avoid a transfer to Virginia, and he provided the Grand Prairie News (GPN) with a letter from a physician reporting that “she is still unstable” at the end of September.

Williams is a wife and mother of four who joined the Army at 17. She is an Iraqi War veteran and has served in the U.S. Army and Reserves for more than 20 years. Due to PTSD and family matters, Williams requested to delay her transfer to Virginia.

Timmons said that because Williams reported wrongdoing and is a whistleblower, the U.S. Army Command punished her by labeling her AWOL and then a deserter. It is unclear whether Timmons’ whistleblower claim refers to this case or to a prior circumstance.

“Williams is currently Absent Without Leave under what amounts to a misunderstanding,” Timmons wrote to the Army Human Resources Command in mid-November.

Timmons asserted that he reached out to facilitate a solution, but instead, the Army retaliated, ordering Williams’ arrest.

The U.S. Marshall Service and Grand Prairie PD officers broke through the door of Williams’ home, emotionally scarring the entire family, Williams claimed.

Timmons contended the commander who ordered the charges and arrest should be charged with abuse of process, gross corruption, and dereliction, GPN reported.

“The Army Reserve is committed to the fair treatment of all Soldiers and Civilians,” a U.S. Army Reserves Public Affairs Office said in a statement to CBS News. “Allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and reviewed under applicable, controlling regulations. Soldiers are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.”

The statement noted that the Privacy Act prohibits the Army Reserve from discussing the details of Williams’ case or any others.

After spending more than a week in the Kaufman County Detention Center, Williams is now awaiting trial in Fort Hill, Oklahoma, Timmons told The Dallas Express.

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Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
1 month ago

I wonder if AWOL (absent without official leave but without intent to desert), carries the same weight as any of these?

  1. obstructing an official proceeding;
  2. conspiracy to defraud the United States government;
  3. knowingly and willingly making a false statement to the federal government;
  4. and inciting, assisting, or engaging in insurrection.
Kendal
Kendal
1 month ago

Are you serious? She served for 20 years, deployed in defense of our nation and this is the treatment given? I’m also a combat vet (Four tours, Iraq and Afghanistan), who happens to hold the retired rank of SFC, why was there this escalation of force? They knew of her past medical history, a history that shouldn’t have be divulged in a public forum (HIPPA violation, public defilement of character?). There was a better way to handle this, one that wouldn’t label a combat veteran as a criminal. Think America, we have a crisis on our hands already with our own public image of minority veterans and Soldiers.

Stephone Wells
Stephone Wells
Reply to  Kendal
1 month ago

20 years she can drop that packet anytime she want and walk 🚶‍♀️ with honorable discharge.

Tgd
Tgd
Reply to  Stephone Wells
1 month ago

Not as a Reservist!!

SDW
SDW
Reply to  Kendal
1 month ago

Did I miss something? She has been at home all this time? And they could not find her until her lawyer approached them about a resolution?

This is why our military forces are being depleted. No respect!

Lauren
Lauren
1 month ago

This is crazy! My son went AWOL twice in 2 years and they didn’t even arrest him! And he deserved time. This world is truly backwards.

Ben Casarez
Ben Casarez
Reply to  Lauren
1 month ago

Oh and you proud of him 🤨

Tgd
Tgd
Reply to  Ben Casarez
1 month ago

She didn’t say she was proud of him. Obviously stating her fact. Everyone doesn’t cover or coddle their kids in their wrong.

Sharon
Sharon
1 month ago

That is outrageous for her to be treated in that manner!

Stacie
Stacie
1 month ago

This is absolutely ridiculous. This miscommunication could have been handled differently for such minor risk and allegation.

lee
lee
1 month ago

this is the most idiotic thing I’ve read as it relates to AWOL.

Leslie
Leslie
Reply to  lee
1 month ago

Yes it is ma’am

Leslie
Leslie
Reply to  Leslie
1 month ago

I’m sorry, Sir

Leslie
Leslie
1 month ago

This is all wrong….I believe whomever ordered this Army Vet picked up for AWOL…He should be Accountable for using his power to ruined this 20 year Army Vet, wife, mother, and friend…He Basically ruined her Life..He will Reap what he Have Sowed….Not everyone in this world is cruel…Just a few think they know everything and decide to play with people lively hood…God will be on her side…Trust and Believe.. Always…

Michael Henderson
Michael Henderson
1 month ago

Just because she requested does not equal approved. She got a doctor’s recommendation, and that is a recommendation. The doctor does not know the needs of the Army. She stopped showing up for work. She is wrong, it is what it is.

Kenneth S.
Kenneth S.
1 month ago

I don’t know all the facts but i do know that the military and higher ranking officials will come after you when they feel like you’re not playing along and dancing to their music.

Jaybo
Jaybo
1 month ago

Guaranteed, this is abuse of power and a personal attack from her higher officials. More details to follow

K lee
K lee
1 month ago

You guys know the Real Reason She’s Black and Beautiful, and he Couldn’t Have Her!

Clay
Clay
Reply to  K lee
1 month ago

Seriously? It can’t possibly be for any other reason? Notice this is a VERY one sided story!