Police forgo citation, instead mow lawn for cancer patient

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman battling cancer expected the worst when two police officers showed up at her home in response to complaints from neighbors that her grass was up to 3 feet high in some places. What she got instead was help.

The Gaston Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/2cpamcf) 55-year-old Sonya Champion had a broken lawnmower and mounting health bills.

“I was afraid they were coming to give me a ticket on the yard because my son is picking up extra hours at work to try to cover the load for us not having my income anymore,” said Champion, a former bookkeeper.

Sgt. Bob Battle and Officer Kevin Murphy from Gaston County Police went to Champion’s home in Mount Holly. But instead of writing a citation, Murphy went to his nearby home, changed out of his uniform and came back with his riding lawnmower to cut the grass himself.

Champion’s daughter trimmed weeds while Murphy mowed. The officer refused the woman’s offer to pay $5 for gas.

“He deserves a lot of glory,” Champion said. “There’s a lot of grace and love in him and his partner… I couldn’t do anything but cry because they were so good.”

Battle says if they wrote a citation, Champion would likely have to go to court.

Champion said she couldn’t do anything but cry at Murphy’s kindness last Sunday. Murphy said he believed it was the right thing to do.

“It was something I think they needed and I could help out so I did,” Murphy said.

Gaston County Police Chief Joe Ramey commended the pair for stepping in. He said they didn’t seek recognition for what they did, and Ramey viewed the act as a classic case of helping the community.

“I think it’s an outstanding example of compassion and kindness on behalf of Sgt. Battle and Officer Murphy,” he said. “In addition to that, it’s a great example of thinking outside the box and applying community policing in a different manner.”


Information from: The Gaston Gazette, http://www.gastongazette.com

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