A Christmas and lingerie-themed birthday party outside Atlanta devolved into chaos on New Year's Eve after cops allegedly found a small amount of weed inside and carted more than 60 people off to jail, WSB-TV reports. Now, dozens of folks who were just looking to have a good time are fighting charges they say they don't deserve.
Deja Heard told WSB-TV she rented the house in Cartersville, Georgia, on Airbnb for her 21st birthday. According to WXIA, the December 30 party promised a few Jell-O shots, "drunk/strip Twister," and beer pong, but quickly got out of hand after a neighbor phoned the local police department to report hearing gunshots.
When they showed up just after 2 AM on Sunday, the cops said they smelled pot outside the party and walked into the house to investigate, finding roughly 70 people inside—including a few high school athletes, the Cartersville Daily Tribune reports. According to a press release, the local cops called in the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force to search the property. The search allegedly turned up a small amount of weed, a stolen handgun and two other firearms, a baggie of what's believed to be cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.
When no one fessed up to owning the pot, at least 63 partygoers between the ages of 15 and 31 were booked and charged for possession of less than an ounce of weed, the Daily Tribune reports.
"All the subjects at the residence were placed under arrest for the possession of the suspected marijuana which was within everyone’s reach or control," Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force's major, Mark Mayton, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In interviews with WSB-TV, those arrested Sunday claimed the cops barged in without a warrant, and that the gunshots they responded to were actually just fireworks. Attendees also said the police roughed them up, binding them in zip ties and threatening to tase them.
"All of us are innocent," Heard told WSB-TV. "It's just not right."
Several folks who were arrested have hired lawyers to fight their charges, and Georgia's NAACP has stepped in to help investigate what went down on Sunday morning. According to BuzzFeed News, the partygoers were each slapped with $1,000 bond, and some remained in jail until Tuesday before posting it.
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