Marcus Garvey Public Charter School (Washington, DC)

“School principal avoids jail sentence in assault on reporter, police.” Reporters Committee for Fredom of the Press, 11/3/1997

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A Washington, D.C. charter school principal was sentenced in mid-October to two years' probation for assaulting a Washington Times reporter and two D.C. police officers.

A D.C. Superior Court judge rejected the prosecutor's argument that Mary A.T. Anigbo, principal of the Marcus Garvey Public Charter School, deserved jail time for assaulting reporter Susan Ferrechio and the two officers at the school in early December. Instead, Anigbo will have to perform 240 hours of community service.

Ferrechio had gone to the school to complete a story on charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately managed. According to testimony during the trial, Ferrechio said that inside the school, she was assaulted by Anigbo, other staff members and students. She said Anigbo, who is black, yelled racial epithets as Ferrechio was physically ejected from the school.

Ferrechio returned two hours later with a Times photographer and two police officers. Another scuffle broke out when the photographer began snapping photos of Anigbo and other school employees.

In D.C. Superior Court in early August, Anigbo was convicted of three counts of simple assault for attacking Ferrechio and the two police officers and one count of taking property without right for stealing Ferrechio's notepad. Three other Garvey employees were also found guilty of similar charges.

Prosecutors urged that Anigbo be jailed for the incident because "a defendant who expresses no remorse for her crime and no respect for the court shows little chance of genuine rehabilitation on probation," The Washington Post reported. Anigbo could have faced up to 21 months in prison and fines totaling $3,300.

According to The Post, Judge Truman Morrison III called Anigbo's conduct "serious," but added that "by failing to incarcerate her, the court is not condoning her conduct."

Morrison also said he was not pleased with Anigbo's recurring claim that the trial was an exercise in racism, The Post reported.

Anigbo said she is appealing her conviction and that she will file a civil suit against The Times and the D.C. police. Her attorney would not elaborate. (D.C. v. Anigbo)

No comments: