Spoke out against daughter’s X-rated reading assignment
William Baer gets ushered out of a school board meeting in May 2014 by Lt. James Leach, who was then police chief of Gilford, New Hampshire.
A New Hampshire man who was handcuffed and arrested for speaking his mind at a local school board meeting last year has filed a lawsuit against the police, alleging violations of his civil rights.
The criminal charges against William Baer of Gilford, New Hampshire, were tossed out of court by Belknap County Judge James Carroll in December, as WND previously reported.
Then-Acting Police Chief James Leach, who made the arrest, could have dropped the charges but elected not to, said Baer, who was arrested while addressing the board about a reading assignment given to his daughter’s ninth-grade class that included sexually explicit material.
“Lieutenant Leach, and Police Chief (Anthony) Bean Burpee, both took an oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Baer told WND. “Lieutenant Leach violated my rights when he silenced and arrested me, and Chief Bean Burpee continued to violate my rights by prosecuting me for nearly seven months.
“These men abused their authority and their positions under color of law. The ‘law enforcers’ became lawbreakers and must be held to account.”
Citizens exercising their First Amendment rights have been roughed up by police not just in New Hampshire in recent years.
WND reported last year on the case of Eddie Overholt, a 76-year-old military veteran who was arrested at a Greene County, Tennessee, board of commissioners meeting because he stood up and requested that the board members speak louder so the audience could hear.
Just last week another man, Jeffrey Clay, was arrested at an Alton, New Hampshire, city council meeting for asking his elected leaders to resign due to “poor actions” and “poor decisions,” the Manchester Union Leader reported.
Press reports abound of other parents who attempted to address their local school boards about the controversial Common Core national education standards and ended up being ushered out, sometimes in handcuffs.
In one such case, in Baltimore County, Maryland, a parent was approached by a burly security guard, pushed, shoved, threatened and eventually handcuffed and forced to leave the meeting, reported Examiner.com, which also published a video of the incident.
Baer said his lawsuit is as much about stopping the national trend as it is seeking justice for himself.
He said it’s time for elected leaders to stop trampling the First Amendment rights of citizens. The video of his arrest went viral on YouTube, attracting more than 1 million views.
Baer spoke in opposition to a reading assignment given to his daughter, Marina. The book, “Nineteen Minutes,” by Jody Picoult, contained graphic descriptions of a violent sexual assault that, in Baer’s opinion, was not age-appropriate for a 14-year-old.
The school officials said the book had “important themes” to be studied about a school shooting.
Parents were not properly notified ahead of time about the assignment’s explicit content. Many concerned parents on both sides of the issue showed up at a tense May 5, 2014, school board meeting.
Several news reporters and at least one videographer were also present, according to the local newspaper, the Laconia Daily Sun.
Chairwoman Sue Allen opened public comment and limited each speaker to two minutes. The officer, Leach, was at the meeting, in uniform and initially standing off to one side, according to the Sun.
Watch video of William Baer’s arrest below:
Written by LEO HOHMANN
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