Parents plead for their kids’ return after children taken into custody during traffic stop

A Georgia mother and father say they are grappling with “indescribable pain” of losing custody of their five children — ages 7, 6, 3, 2 and 4 months — after a traffic stop by the Tennessee Highway Patrol that civil rights organizations have called “targeted.”

Video transcript

- A Grant County couple is fighting to regain custody of their five young children. It happened after Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams were arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges in Coffee County, Tennessee.

CHANELLE CHANDLER: Tell me the emotions that you process every day you wake up without your children home.

DEONTE WILLIAMS: It's hard. And it's-- it's undescribable. It's undescribable. I couldn't even get words. Honestly, it hurts-- hurt, pain.

- This all stems from a traffic stop on their way to a funeral in Chicago.

AMANDA CHIN: The arrest warrant states Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers pulled the family over for, quote, "dark tint traveling in the left lane when not actively passing."

SHERYL HUFF: This happened to them February 17th. And then they had-- had the kids in foster care with another family. And then they were saying that they couldn't keep all of the kids. It was too much on them. And they had to separate all of the children.

And I said, well, let me see if I can get them. And so we did. They did the home study. They did everything that they had to do and approve my home for the children. So I've been having them since March the 1st.

CHANELLE CHANDLER: So how have your lives changed over the course of a month?

BIANCA CLAYBORNE: As far as like my day-to-day I'm used to waking up every two or three hours to breastfeed, or when it's time for school, waking the kids up, going to school, going to the bus stop. We alternate. When it's time to go home from school, we see the bus or hear the bus, and it's just like, you know, it's-- it's painful, because our kids are not coming off the base.

- An estimated 5 grams of a substance believed to be marijuana was found in the vehicle. That alone typically would not be enough to justify removing five children from a family.

CHANELLE CHANDLER: What has been told to the kids about the situation and what's happening to them and why they're not home?

SHERYL HUFF: Well, I don't know if DCS was telling them that-- that mom and dad right now, they can't get you guys. And I don't know where to get this narrative from that the kids told them that dad roll up weed, and I'm riding in the car with them. And I don't know where that came from. And that's what-- they were saying that this was the kids telling them this. And that's not even a conversation the kids even know to even bring up or even say.

BIANCA CLAYBORNE: You know, I'm a stay-at-home mom. I'm in school. I was in school until everything occurred for-- I was actually going for child development, you know? So I'm not the paint-- I'm painted out there is something that I'm not. And it's defamation of my character. And that's not-- you know, I'm not that person. I know who I am. And I know how much I love my kids and how my kids love me.

LONDON LAMAR: The Coffee County justice system was absolutely out of line for taking their children over a misdemeanor charge.

CHANELLE CHANDLER: You're also in a very unique position, because you are also an interim director for your local National Action Network chapter. So bringing that into the fold, what are you calling for in this case in general? What is the National Action Network calling for?

SHERYL HUFF: So first of all, I want to call for a complaint. We need to file a complaint of what has taken place. I need these kids to go-- get back with their parents as soon as possible. I think that for them to say they had to wait for drug screening to come back, I think when you had her in court and did a urine test again, that should have been enough.

So to keep sending me around the roses and all of that kind of stuff, it's ridiculous. And I think that they jump to a conclusion, and they had their own our turn of motive into doing what they did and why they did it. And so all of that need to be reviewed. And I think DCS need to stop everything that they're doing, and they need to go back and review every case that has happened in Coffee County.