Lori Teel said she can’t remember checking out a “Twilight” book and movie from the Portales Public Library, but she’s not likely to forget her overnight stay in jail for failing to return them.
Teel was arrested and handcuffed at her Portales home in front of her five small children earlier this month because of $35.98 worth of library materials allegedly taken out and not returned, according to a tort claim notice sent to the Portales city clerk on Monday.
The overdue library fine led to a summons for Teel to appear in Portales Municipal Court, according to the claim. A municipal court judge issued warrants for Teel’s arrest last year after she failed to appear in court, but the summons and warrants were mailed to an address at which Teel hadn’t lived since childhood, and she never received any notices, she and her attorney say.
Teel was arrested June 12 by officers investigating a disturbance, according to her attorney, Eric Dixon of Portales. Teel said officers arrived at Teal’s home that evening in response to allegations that her husband had assaulted someone.
While there, officers realized there was a warrant for her arrest.
“Honestly, it was awful,” Teel said of the arrest and her night in the Roosevelt County Detention Center. “For me, it was very awful because I have never been in trouble for anything in my life.”
Her children, ages 1 to 10, stayed in a neighbor’s home until Teel was released the following morning on $610 bond.
“My kids are still very emotional,” Teel said. “They had to stay with a complete stranger. My 3-year-old is traumatized over it. She will not leave my side.”
Dixon sent letters to Portales and Roosevelt County officials on Tuesday alerting them that Teel plans to file legal action for the arrest.
Portales City Attorney Stephen Doerr dismissed charges against Lori Teel on Monday, Municipal Court records show.more