The Tuscaloosa Police Department is investigating a woman's claim that her four children were handcuffed and held at gunpoint, all while officers responded to the wrong apartment on an unrelated call.

The mother, Ms. Nija Hewitt, said she moved into the Forrester Garden apartments on James I. Harrison Parkway just last week.

This Sunday, Hewitt said, she was sick and took a four-hour trip to the emergency room but rushed back to the apartment when she got a harrowing phone call.

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"It was a phone call from my son telling me, 'Mom, the police are here and have us in handcuffs and have guns drawn on us,'" Hewitt said. "So I immediately start trying to rip my own IV out."

If the video embedded below does not begin at the proper time stamp, Hewitt's comments begin at 55:00.

When she got back to the apartment complex, she said Tuscaloosa Police officers had left her apartment and were engaged in whatever business they came to do at a different, nearby unit.

"I have good decent, respectful children, my children make A-B Honor Roll and have no disciplinary records at school, but they had my 12-year-old twins in handcuffs with an AR pointed in their faces," Hewitt said. "Even when they realized that they made the wrong call and come to the wrong apartment, they still had my kids in handcuffs with guns pointed in their faces."

Hewitt said she has spoken to a TPD supervisor and filed a complaint about the Sunday interaction, but wants more answers about what happened.

"I feel like that's an abuse of authority, they didn't handle that correctly," Hewitt said. "So now my kids are traumatized, they're scared to be left at home by themselves all because of what the police did. They made the wrong call, came to the wrong door, handcuffed all four of my children, and had guns drawn on them. That's not right and something needs to be done about it."

Hewitt's address to the council was the first time the elected officials were made aware of the incident, and Councilwoman Raevan Howard said she would look into the matter.

A spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa Police Department said they are also trying to separate fact from fiction and go from there.

"We did receive a complaint related to that incident, and are currently looking into it," said TPD spokesperson Stephanie Taylor. "We should be able to provide more details once the investigators have spoken with everyone involved and determined what happened."

For updates on this case as they are made available, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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