Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Parent Arrested At School Meeting

This short video of a Towson, Maryland father being arrested at a school meeting has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. Robert Small was arrested and charged with second degree assault on a police officer and disturbing a school operation after raising questions about the implementation of common-core education standards.

There are really a few different issues worthy of discussion which the video helps to shine a bright light on: the common core standards, the controlled somewhat manipulative manner in which these forums are conducted and of course, the legitimacy of the charges against Mr. Small.

The charges levied against Mr. Small is the issue which I found the most egregious. The meeting was supposed to be a question and answer forum used to convey information about the new standards to the public but rather than allowing the audience to directly speak, questions were to be written in advance and some would be selected to be answered. It seems that Mr. Small became frustrated after the first hour of the hour and a half long meeting was more of a pep rally for the new standards, so he decided to stand-up and raise his concerns. The video depicts what took place at that point.

It is true that Mr. Small did not follow the pre-arranged format of the meeting and did not immediately comply with the officers instructions to leave. This validates the charge of disturbing a school operation though as I insinuated above, the format of submitting questions in advance allows for the forum leaders to avoid any difficult questions thus censoring any opposition.

It is the charge of second degree assault against a police officer which I find to be disturbing (a charge which carries a fine of $2,500 and up to 10 years in prison). According to this story from The Baltimore Sun the police report "said Small had attempted to push the officer away when he first confronted him." I watched the video closely and didn't see anything remotely close to that. Unless I'm missing something, this seems like another example of a police officer creating charges where the facts of the situation clearly do not support it. Isn't this a simple case of false arrest? And yet, according to this Baltimore Sun story, the state's attorney's office believes that the officer clearly "acted appropriately and did have probable cause to make an arrest on both charges." Really? If that is true than there is something wrong with the law. Mr. Small did not initiate contact with the officer yet somehow it is appropriate to charge him with such a serious crime.?

Thankfully, the all so generous state's attorney's office has decided to drop the charges against Mr. Small. I wonder, if there hadn't been a video recording of the event he would be so lucky?

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