A teen rapper from Beaver County agreed to a $60,000settlement with local law enforcement agencies Dec. 27, almost two years afterhe was handcuffed and arrested at school for lyrics he had posted on theInternet, according to the Associated Press.
Anthony Latour, then 13years old, was arrested by police from two different townships in April 2005after the school received complaints of his lyrical postings from parents ofother students. Latour spent a weekend in the Allencrest Juvenile DetentionCenter after his arrest and later spent several weeks under house arrestfollowing an expulsion in May 2005, according to his attorney, Francis Moore.Moore said there was not only a conflict with the school, but with thepolice’s handling of the case.
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SPLCView: While one can empathize with the challenges faced by school and lawenforcement officials in trying to prevent violence in our nation’s schools,this is one of those cases that reinforces why it remains important to retainoversight of officials’ actions both in and outside of school. In this case, forexample, the student’s attorney has said that there was no attempt to speak tothe student or his family or investigate the matter in any way prior to leadingthe young man off in handcuffs and locking him away for a weekend. Such swift,ask-questions-later action may be appropriate for responding to a student thathas a weapon or poses some other clear and immediate physical threat; it is notappropriate for a student whose only “crime” is posting offensive or alarmingsong lyrics. A society that claims respect for free speech must require more ofthose in authority.