The heavy hand of Florida law enforcement slapped cuffs on a single mother last week for the crime of letting her son play at a neighborhood park by himself.
Charged with child neglect, Nicole Gainey faces up to five years in prison. If convicted, her 7-seven-year-old boy could end up in state custody.
Think the arrest is a small town one-off? Think again, says John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney for the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute.
There are no unusual circumstances in this case, he told Watchdog.org. It could pretty much happen to any family, he said.
Karen Wagner, executive director of the National Parents’ Rights Association, expressed similar concerns.
“There’s nothing written in terms of what rights parents have,” she told Watchdog.org. “There is no bill of rights for parents. Police and government agencies work on a case-by-case basis.”
The Rutherford Institute is providing free legal defense for the Port St. Lucie mother, and sees the arrest as part of a growing trend of over-policing local communities.
Treating minor mistakes as serious crimes is tantamount to living in a police state, Whitehead said.
“For the so-called ‘crime’ of allowing her son to play at the park unsupervised, Nicole Gainey was interrogated, arrested and handcuffed in front of her son, and transported to the local jail where she was physically searched, fingerprinted, photographed and held for seven hours and then forced to pay almost $4,000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey’s family and friends were subsequently questioned by the (Florida Department of Children and Families),” reads a Rutherford Institute statement.
Police assert the park was too far away for the child to be left unattended.
Read more at Watchdog.org.
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