Steve Daniels, the head of the Arizona chapter of the Patriot Party, was arrested last week as he and others attempted to address a school board meeting to push back on a controversial curriculum known as Critical Race Theory.
The incident was captured on video that he subsequently posted to his Facebook page. In the video, Daniels and another woman appear to become upset after they were allegedly denied entrance into the meeting, which Daniels says violates legal statutes surrounding open meetings. A limit of 25 people was reportedly being enforced.
“Apparently they’re not going to let anybody into the meeting,” he said at one point in the video. “I’m pretty sure based on open meeting laws they need to allow everybody in here to watch.”
Two police officers can be heard in the video telling him and the woman they can live stream the meeting on the phones, with one of the officers instructing the woman to get a phone after she says she doesn’t have one.
“These are tyrannical police officers that don’t know the law and they are protecting the tyrannical government,” Daniels is heard at one point saying to a gathered and boisterous crowd, going on to compare the officers to Nazis.
At around the 35-minute mark, Daniels is asked by a police officer if he would reposition himself away from an entrance as members of the Chandler School Board met.
“Can I ask you if would mind standing over here, so we can clear a path for you? I’m not going to ask you to stop doing anything else,” the officer can be heard saying.
Daniels appears to comply but continues to agitate the crowd and label police and school board actions as unconstitutional and illegal violations of open meetings laws.
A few moments later, a woman is seen in the video urging Daniels to leave, but he refuses and asks her to back away from him. At around the 37-minute mark, police officers move to arrest Daniels, as he tells them they, too, are in violation of the law.
He was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing after being asked to leave by a school representative and police officers, according to AZ Central.
The paper reported that the incident came as parents and activists around Arizona increasingly confront school boards and elected district officials over the subject of critical race theory and ongoing COVID mask policies, as well as alleged violations of open meeting laws in Litchfield Elementary School District. The issues have also been widely discussed on local conservative talk radio programs, the newspaper added.
As for the Patriot Party leader, he has become increasingly involved in countering what he sees as encroaching left-wing curriculum in the area’s public schools.
Meanwhile, the local school board sought to address rumors about critical race theory, which was not on the board’s meeting agenda last week. Officials said that the school is not teaching the Marxist-themed curriculum and no one on the board has discussed adding it.
“Critical race theory has not been on our agenda and is not on our agenda this evening,” Board President Barb Mozden said. “If you have concerns about classroom instruction, we encourage you to let our schools or district office know so that we can look into the matter.”
Daniels’ protest and arrest all come as parents around the country have begun showing up at school board meetings to vehemently push back against CRT, and by filing to run for local boards.
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