Days after arrest, Columbus anchor Dee Armstrong speaks out about controversial mugshot

WLTZ news anchor Dee Armstrong returned to work Thursday morning nearly a week after being arrested in a dispute with her son.

The local TV personality appeared undaunted by the experience, which unleashed an outpouring of support from people who consider her an icon in the community.

After her arrest, many Facebook friends expressed outrage over the release of a bald mugshot of Armstrong, which went viral on social media. Some posted photos of themselves with Armstrong on different occasions. “We love you, Dee” became ubiquitous on Facebook.

At 10:28 a.m. on Thursday, Armstrong posted a live video on Facebook, dressed in a red sweater, and her hair and makeup flawless.

“... Just wanted to kind of give you guys the heads up , let you know that I’m back,” she said to her audience, “really just to say, ‘thank you so much for the support; just really, really touched me.”

As she spoke about the incident, Armstrong said hello to people who commented in real time.

“You know, things happened, and on the advice of counsel I can’t talk a lot about what happened with my family,” Dee said, referring to her arrest. “Maybe one day, but I can’t do it now.

“You know, God keeps ya, because I was so nervous last night; I said this is going to be hard,” she continued. “It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t hard at all. It’s like I had never left.”

Instead of focusing on her legal issues, Armstrong talked about Alopecia, a hair loss problem with which she’s been struggling. She said the issue is something she had intended to share with her audience at some point in the future.

“I was eventually going to, but they made sure I’m gonna talk about it now,” she said with a chuckle.

Armstrong said God works life like a chess board because she had been speaking to a hair expert in Atlanta about hair- thinning and Alopecia.

She said the woman would be on her program 11 a.m. Thursday to talk about hair problems.

“I have had so many women telling me, ‘Hey Dee, you’re not alone. I thought about shaving my head, too, because I’m dealing with this,’” she said. “So, listen, we’re going to be talking about that.”

Referring to support from the community after the incident, Armstrong said “people were so doggone sweet to me.”

“... One of the hardest things to ever happen to me was to have them post that picture of me,” she said of the mugshot. “And I wanted to do it on my own terms, you know. It’s like, when I talk about it I wanted to talk about it the way I wanted to talk about it. But I wasn’t given that option.

“So today I am going to talk about it,” she said. “And I’ve been so surprised. I’ve had woman after woman after woman come up to me talking about how they deal with something similar.

”And women deal with it differently,” she said. “Some will weave it and do all kinds things like that. I just decided I wasn’t dealing with it, I was just going to shave my head. So that’s what I did.

“But that was my personal business, it wasn’t supposed to be out there like that,” she added.

Regarding the arrest, Armstrong said the cases is in the “legal realm” and something she can’t talk about right now.

“You can pray for me, because I believe prayer changing e’rything,” she said. “... God is real, yes he is. Anybody believes he ain’t real, they got a problem ‘cause they gonna have to deal with it one day. They’re going to have to look him right in the eye and say, ‘Oops, my bad.’ And it’s going to be too late.”

Later in the video, she began singing “God is still is able, yes he is, yes he is.”

Armstrong, who previously worked with WTVM, faces one count of simple battery after being arrested March 16. She was booked into the Muscogee County Jail and was scheduled to appear in Recorder’s Court for a hearing the next day.

Columbus police were called to the 4200 block of Pickering Drive around 4:17 a.m. the day of the incident to investigate a domestic dispute.

Armstrong’s son told police that he was lying on the bed watching a motivational video when she came into the room and began talking to him about God. He allegedly told her to keep her “beliefs to herself.”

He said that’s when she got mad and punched him on the left side of his face, near his eye. He said he grabbed her shoulders and held her against the wall, so she wouldn’t strike him again.

He said she started to yell that she had no clothes on and he was trying to hurt her.

The victim told police that he didn’t have any “evil” tendencies and that he wouldn’t harm her. He let her go and sat back on the bed before gathering his belongings to leave, according to a police report.

Officials said the incident left the victim with bruises on his left cheek near his eye, but Armstrong didn’t complain of any injuries.

When giving her account of the incident, Armstrong told police she was getting ready for work when she saw that her son was still awake. She said she believes he is an atheist and was watching motivational videos.

She said she went into the room to tell him, “Whatever you are searching for, the answer is God.”

Armstrong said her son then told her it was 4 a.m. and she needed to leave. She allegedly didn’t leave but asked why he was speaking with her in that manner.

She said that’s when he grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her against the wall in the bathroom. She told him she had no clothes on under her bath robe and to let her go, according to her statement to police.

She told police she called authorities to get her son removed from her residence.

Alva James-Johnson: 706-571-8521, @amjreporter