“Who Are We?” I asked Sunday at Townhall.com.
Today’s question: What have we come to?
Under a seemingly click-bait headline in The Atlantic, “Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them?” Garrett Epps examines last week’s outrageous handcuffing and arrest of a Louisiana teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, for speech displeasing to the Vermilion Parish school board at a public meeting.
The elementary school teacher complained about a $30,000 raise the board was giving the superintendent, noting that teachers had not seen an increase in nearly a decade. After asserting that the raise would be “basically taken out of the pockets of teachers,” she was ruled out of order by the school board president and then asked to leave the premises. She calmly left the meeting room . . . only to be forced to the floor, handcuffed and arrested once in the hallway.
Police claimed the arrest was for “remaining after having been forbidden” and “resisting an officer.”
The school district announced it won’t press charges. Very funny. Anyone can see from the video that her treatment was excessive.
Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Florida, where an arrest was clearly retaliatory, but the city is newly claiming another violation it could have used to arrest Mr. Lozman.
Does this after-the-fact adding on of charges provide governments with an escape clause? As Epps argues, a Lozman decision “could either rein in, or embolden, the tiny-handed tyrants who rule county buildings and city halls around the country.”
If respectfully challenging our so-called public servants in meetings designed for that can lead to being arrested, handcuffed and dragged off, we no longer live in ‘the land of the free.’
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.