School Board Meeting Arrests of Parents: A Partial Inventory

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

Before this article is through, we'll touch on enough provocative scenes to make for a lukewarm sequel to Harvey Keitel's film Bad Lieutenant. We're talking police handcuffing grandmothers, strip-searching special-needs mothers, arresting parents at school board meetings and more. At the beginning of this article, however, is a bit of triviality. Specifically, the method by which unruly people can be thrown out of public buildings lawfully.

There is a procedure to expel citizens from public buildings, which is this: The noncomplying citizen is asked to cease an unwanted behavior—such as speaking too loudly —and if they continue the unwanted behavior, they are ordered off-premises. If the malcontent resists leaving the premises, they can be charged with trespassing. The disruptive citizen isn't forced into the back of a police cruiser for whichever minor infraction they first committed—such as speaking too loudly—their crime is trespassing.

Two personalities to familiarize yourself with at this point—before we begin to list recent arrests that have taken place on school grounds and at school board meetings in Monroe County, New York—are the personalities of Chad Hummel and Shannon Joy. Their names will appear and reappear among the various arrests collected here. These two suburban rebels make the case convincingly that when patriots' backs are put against the wall, it won't be ex-military in Monroe County who act as patriots' first line of defense. It will be the neighborhood rebel, or perhaps a descriptor more appropriate to middle-age, the neighborhood curmudgeon. I use the term "curmudgeon" in as complimentary a fashion as it can be used.

We can begin the schoolyard arrests with Chad Hummel. Hummel, being a lawyer, knew what he was walking into when he chose to attend one of his son's high-school baseball games without a mask. Not long after, he was taken for a ride in a police vehicle. The case, like many I'll reference, briefly pinged the national news cycle. I'd first heard Hummel talk about his arrest on a regional podcast, however. I was unsure what his argument for going free might be, knowing the little I do about how the law functions in such instances when people are expelled from public spaces. I had the opportunity to ask Hummel about his logic during an interview some weeks ago:

UncoverDC: One thing I don't understand. I work at a library where we set policies, and if someone is in violation of one of the policies and we say, "Sorry, you're going to have to leave," and if they say, "We're not leaving," then we call the police and charge them with trespassing. Isn't that essentially what happened at the high school?

Hummel: Yeah, that's basically what happened.

UncoverDC: So legally, I don't get the issue exactly, except that there may have been signage in the building that expressed a different policy?

Hummel: Well, that's probably my strongest argument is that, in fact, there was a sign on the athletic facility that I entered that said that, in accordance with CDC guidelines, if you cannot maintain social distance, then you should mask. And, of course, everybody knows that at that time and for the several months preceding that, that was the common understanding of what the guidance was, that you wore a mask if you could not maintain social distance. Especially outdoors, right? I mean, I don't even know that there was any guidance other than you're on your own outdoors.

When Hummel was ordered to wear a mask, he could hardly have been a threat to anyone. He and his wife were outdoors and reportedly 150 feet from the next closest spectator.

The point I would like to make here is that I didn't understand how police could be found at all culpable by Hummel or his fans when police enforced a charge of trespassing. Hummel's argument seemed to be more with school policy. I felt, however, police were included in the mix of Hummel adversaries. What was increasing in Monroe County, along with the number of school arrests, even beginning with this early arrest, was a feeling among the local patriot class that the police had some liability in the matter.

Another notable incident taking place in the spring of 2021, however, certainly didn't help encourage any love for law enforcement. The incident didn't happen on school grounds, and it didn't involve an arrest, but I include it here because the local patriot subculture took note of it. As written about in the UncoverDC article "Health Department Intimidation Squad at Broadcaster's Home," radio host Shannon Joy was harassed at her home by two contact tracers accompanied by two officers. Joy initially told a contact tracer over the phone she didn't think her daughter had been near anyone with COVID as the contact tracer had suggested. Joy recounted in our interview what happened following the phone conversation:

"On April 3rd, the day before Easter, my daughter was downstairs watching cartoons when she saw a strange man come up on the porch aggressively banging on the door. She didn't know who he was. She looked out the window and saw two police officers on the sidewalk, armed, and another stranger, so when she didn't answer the door, they went around to our side door. So, around our porch to our side door, and started banging on the side door. My son Teddy was there playing video games. It scared him too. So, she ran upstairs and got my husband."

The four men—two contact tracers and two policemen—came to the home to deliver a quarantine order to Joy's daughter. The original UncoverDC article about the incident ended with an itemization of suits Joy was then in the process of filing, one of those being against the Fairport Police Department.

The third oddball interaction with police that we'll examine takes us back to school grounds. This incident again features Shannon Joy, this time in her school arrest debut. Shannon Joy was arrested at a Fairport School Board meeting—in what might be described as a homage to kindred spirit Hummel—for not covering her nose with her mask. She was detained and handcuffed by Monroe County Sheriff's deputies and also charged with trespassing. The charges were later dismissed in court at the suggestion of the prosecutor.

This week, I ran into Shannon Joy while working on a third story about the continuing Rochester protests against vaccine mandates. We went over the circumstance of her arrest in Fairport. The situation was a bit different for her than it was for Hummel. Hummel knew that he was baiting the school by not wearing a mask, while in Joy's case, others in the room wore their masks as Joy did. Joy said:

"There were multiple other parents who had their masks below their noses, including the superintendent of the Fairport School District, Brett Provenzano. We have a photograph of him in that meeting with the mask below his nose, below his chin, actually. And I was arrested by police officers who were not wearing masks."

There is a question then as to whether locally famous broadcaster Shannon Joy was targeted for arrest.

Our following arrest was one I reported on extensively in two linked UncoverDC articles, "New York Interview Leads to National Mask Propaganda" and "Defending Yours When Local Authorities Begin to Target." Laine Mulye, the mother of a special-needs student, was allegedly in a physical altercation with her son's bus monitor after the monitor verbally abused her child to wear a mask or get off the school bus. As a result, Mulye's family contacted lawyer Chad Hummel (of schoolyard arrest fame) to represent her.

Lauren Kunz, a friend of Mulye's, was instrumental in my understanding of what had happened the day of Mulye's altercation. Kunz relayed to me what Mulye had told her. Hummel had instructed Mulye, while I was writing the article about her, not to speak to the press about the day of the altercation. Mulye, as it was reported by Kunz on the day of the dispute, was collected at her home by an officer. After Mulye was taken into custody, she was strip-searched. Kunz suggested the strip search was unwarranted considering the low-level charges against Mulye. An interview I had with an officer from the Macedon Police Department semi-confirmed Kunz's assertion.

A conversation I had when a call was returned to me by Macedon Police has not been written about previously. The call took place at the time the second article about Mulye was written. I dipped back to the subject matter of the first article to question the officer. I asked if it was usual for someone like Mulye with a charge of second-degree harassment to be strip-searched. The officer seemed incredulous that Mulye had been strip-searched, though she also said she couldn't speak to the booking procedures of whichever facility handled Mulye. It came up in our conversation where I'd heard Mulye had been strip-searched. I said I'd heard it confirmed by Mulye herself. The officer's response to hearing that the account of the strip-search had come from Mulye was, "Consider the source."

The conversation with the officer was short but loaded; The officer seemed doubtful of the suggestion that Mulye had been strip-searched in consideration of Mulye's charges. The officer also seemed dismissive of testimony from Mulye. I have little doubt, however, that Mulye was strip-searched. The search was described to me by Kunz and also came up during the Mulye interview. The topic wasn't something Mulye's lawyer wanted discussed, but Mulye made a single remark about the strip search, which confirmed for me that it happened.

The fifth and most recent arrest/s occurred at a Hilton Board of Education meeting where three attendees were seized, one for not masking—and charged with trespassing—and two more for disruptive behavior. Chad Hummel was again contacted and employed to represent one of the defendants. It's a pattern repeat.

There doesn't seem to be any end to police tossing loose maskers into cruisers, with the result being, at least in Joy's case, charges eventually dropped. There are also freak interactions with police, such as a special-needs mother being run through the wringer in Macedon. So, where does that leave patriots concerning the police? With each successive incident, I have to wonder. Chad Hummel may have answered that question as well as anyone. He said while speaking on a local podcast [at 21.50 mark] about the Hilton arrests:

"Back the Blue, it's done, it's over. Everyone needs to get over it, and I'll tell you why. Because what's in our heart when it comes to Back The Blue is the institution of law and order. And what's at the heart of law and order is our Constitution. It's our Declaration of Independence, it's our Constitution, and it's our Bill of Rights, OK? We gotta get away from Back The Blue because, unfortunately, it is divisive. What it does, it gives the other side, it gives that bullshit Black Lives Matter crowd and the Antifa crowd, it gives them a shiny object to go after. We, as the Constitutional patriots in society—and we know that we are because we have the hats on—we, as the constitutional patriots, we need to stand for a greater good. And, I hate to say it, actually, I don't hate to say it, but The Blue, the police themselves, they're not the greater good." 

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