updated 8/22/2007 11:15:00 PM ET 2007-08-23T03:15:00

The mayor and City Council have apologized to a 70-year-old woman arrested after a dispute with a police officer over her brown lawn — but she has still been charged in the case.

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Two misdemeanor charges were filed against Betty Perry last week: resisting arrest and violating an ordinance that requires property owners to maintain their landscaping.

“We don’t make our decision based on what political leaders do or think. ... There’s a huge other side of the story,” City Attorney Paul Johnson said Wednesday. “There’s a violation that needs to be corrected.”

Officer James Flygare arrived at Perry’s house last month to talk about her dead grass and foot-high weeds. Perry’s water apparently had been turned off at her request.

As she walked back into the house pulling Flygare, Perry tripped and fell against the door jamb, injuring her nose, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety, which investigated at the request of Orem police.

She was handcuffed and taken to a holding cell before red-faced police officials released her. Mayor Jerry Washburn and the City Council apologized, saying they were “shocked and dismayed” by what happened.

Asked Wednesday about Johnson’s decision to file charges, the mayor said, “That’s his call.”

There is no phone listing for Perry, who is due in court Sept. 18.

Not uncommon charge
Perry and her brown lawn are being treated fairly, Perry said. Eleven cases “for the exact same thing” have been filed against other residents since April, he said.

The state investigation found Flygare’s actions were proper, although his bosses have said the situation could have been handled differently.

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