Since The Ohio Star broke the story about Alecia Kitts, the Marietta mom who was tased and arrested for not wearing a mask, the incident got the attention of Breitbart, TheBlaze, HuffPost, Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, and Covington Catholic High student Nick Sandmann’s attorney Lin Wood.
The Ohio Department of Health has issued a plethora of orders since march, including a statewide mask mandate announced by Governor Mike DeWine on July 22 – effective July 23, with exemptions. The mask mandate was the catalyst to the situation involving Kitts that unfolded in Logan, Ohio on Wednesday, September 23.
The 3 1/2 minute video shot by Vanessa Kennedy of Marietta shows the climax of a situation that began when Kitts was asked to wear a mask but refused because she said she has asthma. Kitts was eventually tased, cuffed and escorted out of the stadium.
Logan Police Captain Ryan Gabriel informed The Star through email that charges were filed in Hocking County Municipal Court on Friday morning against Kitts. According to the incident report obtained by The Star, Kitts is charged with criminal trespass (misdemeanor-4), resisting arrest (misdemeanor-2) and obstructing official business (misdemeanor-2).
The report also shows Yvonne Fox, the second woman in the video, is cited for obstructing official business (misdemeanor-4).
The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) indicates fourth-degree misdemeanors carry a maximum of 30 days in jail. Second-degree misdemeanors carry a maximum of 90 days in jail. Kitts faces a maximum of 210 days in jail and Fox 30 days.
However, there is no jail time required in convictions of any of the charges.
The Star reached out to Gabriel on Thursday and asked what written law or rule Kitts violated that necessitated her arrest on Wednesday. Originally, Gabriel stated that the violation involved the school and advised “to contact the Logan-Hocking School District Board office, it is a school policy.”
Gabriel did follow up with The Star to provide an additional statement.
“The school policy states that spectators must wear masks while in the stadium, she was advised that she had to have a mask on while watching the game per school policy, or she would have to leave the stadium,” said Gabriel.
He continued, “[S]he refused to wear a mask and when told she had to leave, she refused. She was then warned that she would be arrested for criminal trespass if she failed to leave. She refused to leave after several warnings and requests and was subsequently arrested on the charge of criminal trespass.”
The incident report contains a narrative from School Resource Officer Chris Smith who wrote “I asked the female to put her mask on. She told me that she was not going to put her mask on because she had asthma. I advised her if she did not put her mask on, then she would have to leave the stadium.”
Smith’s narrative continued “she then asked me what she was supposed to do with her children, because she was watching her son play football. I advised her that if she did not leave the stadium, that she would arrested.”
The Star tried to contact Logan-Hocking School District Superintendent Monte Bainter. Neither the school nor Bainter returned the call.
Attorney Maurice Thompson, legal counsel for Kitts, told The Star “Ms. Kitts was not breaking the statewide mask mandate because she has a medical condition that exempts her. She was also seated far away from other people.”
Thompson’s comments are consistent with the State of Ohio mandatory sports requirements. The requirements state “[s]pectators must wear face coverings at all times except for one of the reasons stated in the Director’s Orders for Facial Coverings throughout the State of Ohio, signed July 23, 2020, or as thereafter amended.”
The July 23 order does include exemptions for medical conditions (including asthma) and situations outdoors when a person can maintain a distance of six feet or greater from other people not in their own household.
“We can’t have public policy that ends with someone getting arrested just for sitting with their family outside watching their child play football,” said State Representative D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron).
Swearingen continued “the legislature amended Senate Bill 55 (SB55) with this type of situation in mind. By taking the criminal element out of minor health order violations, we believed that instances like this one would be less adversarial in nature and could be avoided altogether. The mom, school resource officer and school administration have all been put in a bad spot here.”
The General Assembly passed SB55 and then Governor DeWine vetoed the bill.
At his twice-weekly presser on Thursday, DeWine warned against judging the officer and school officials involved with the incident.
“Before you just look at the video, look at what led up to that video, and I think that you’ll get a full picture of what happened,” said DeWine.
Thompson sees it differently.
“She explained to the officer and administrators that she has asthma, but they ignored her. Consequently, they told her she would have to leave the stadium which is not consistent with any law or directive. They misappropriated the law – haphazardly and violently.” the attorney said.
Kitts will have her day in court October 7.
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Jack Windsor is Managing Editor and an Investigative Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an Investigative Reporter at WMFD-TV. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Alecia Kitts Being Arrested” by The Timmyz.