Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have come to the defense of a Florida mother who was arrested and charged with child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to visit a neighborhood playground located a half mile from their house. 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 $4000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey’s family and friends were subsequently questioned by the Dept. of Child Services. Gainey now faces a third-degree criminal felony charge that carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in jail.
Insisting that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children, which includes determining when their children are mature enough to play outside or walk to a neighborhood park by themselves, Rutherford Institute attorneys plan to demand that the charges against Gainey be dropped.
“What this incident and others like it taking place across the country make clear is that the theater of the absurd that passes for life in the American police state grows more tragic and incomprehensible by the day,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “While we all want to ensure that our young people are safe and protected, the government cannot usurp a parent’s right to determine what is appropriate for their children. Unless we put a stop to this ‘government-knows-best’ nanny state mindset now, we may soon find that we have no rights whatsoever in a society that is increasingly bureaucratic, legalistic, politically correct, self-righteous and unconcerned about individual rights.”