Minor criminal charges filed for speaking, kissing

A lawyer representing Desmond Clark, whose son attends Vernon Hills High School in the suburbs north of Chicago, has charged the Blue Ribbon school with making racist remarks against his son and filing trumped-up charges against him and his wife, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Former tight end Desmond Clark, who helped the Bears get to the Super Bowl in 2006, and his wife are free on bond after turning themselves in and being processed by police. They’re scheduled to appear in court on Oct 2 to answer charges of disorderly conduct. Those charges, Mr Clark says on his Facebook page, stem from an outburst he made on Aug 29 at the school in response to several years of racist comments directed at his son, who attends the high school.

Mr Clark has been known for “giving back” to the high school football communities throughout his retirement. His Twitter feed is filled with comments like this one:

Details aren’t available in the media as to exactly what happened, but Mr Clark re-tweeted a post from the Chicago Daily Herald that said racism was behind the charges:

Plus, the Daily Herald reported that a Facebook post shared by the Fox-32 station, made by Mr Clark, alleged the following instances of racism by people at the school:

  • In 2012, racial slur was aimed at his son.
  • In 2013, his son was told by a student his family “hangs from trees.”
  • In 2014 his son was picked out of a crowd and asked his purpose for being on campus after hours.
  • In 2015, his wife was the target of a racial slur and provoked into a fight.
  • And last Saturday, his son was called a criminal.

Vernon Hills High School opened in the 1999-2000 school year for freshmen and in 2000-01 for all years. The school consistently scores above state averages in reading, math, and science, and gets very high marks from parents, on average.

Isolated instances of racism, though, if they occurred, do not speak well of the school. Mr Clark became emotional as he was exiting the police station to talk with reporters about what had happened. The Daily Herald noted that some people at the school were scared of Mr Clark, and I, for one, side with Mr Clark on this one. My rationale is that if a white person got upset and spoke his mind, it would not evoke the same fear; if a former Bears tight end does the same thing, it does. That’s racism and is unacceptable on the part of school officials or the police.

On the involvement of police in the schools

We are on the record as opposing the involvement of police in situations that might be good learning opportunities, in cases where a simple apology would be more appropriate, in discipline action, or in squelching the free speech of citizens addressing grievances against school officials.

We pointed out the absence of democracy at a meeting about school closure in Chicago, a meeting about the Common Core in Baltimore County, Md., and now this, as criminal charges are filed against someone who spoke out against what was allegedly racist remarks made at a school about his son and wife.

Police come into the school entirely too often, and if they’re not required—as appears to be the case here—the matter is a grave one indeed. Police have more important things to do than deal with school matters.

For example, the police were brought in when a middle school boy kissed a girl on a dare from a friend. A 13-year-old boy allegedly kissed a 14-year-old girl during school hours at Pikesville Middle School in Baltimore County. The boy faces a second-degree assault charge as a juvenile.

You might at first think this is a ridiculous charge, but we’re talking about 14-year-olds, who understand boundaries, and from the skimpy reporting I could find on this case, many details have been left out. Schools aren’t allowed to release details about incidents like this, so sketchy reporting is to be expected and will never be made more complete.

My guess about what happened is that the boy may have been harassing the girl in the past and the kiss, clearly unwanted and allegedly open-mouth, accompanied by grabbing of her shirt around her waist, was just the straw that broke the camel’s back and led school officials to bring in the police.

The boy was charged as a juvenile, so his record will be expunged of this incident when he turns 18, if he is found guilty of the juvenile second-degree assault charge. The charges and any conviction will still be available to law enforcement personnel and may complicate any future sentencing of this boy, if this violent behavior toward women continues. But one must be careful not to make judgments against a school for actions that seem over the top when the school can’t defend itself.

Should police be brought in to squelch complaints against school officials or the running of the school when those complaints are made out of turn or with a loud voice?

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.

1 Comment on "Minor criminal charges filed for speaking, kissing"

  1. A. Ahmed Jr. | Oct 13, 2015 at 9:27 am |

    Fwd: Desmond Clark ex Bear
    To: pressdepartment@rainbowpush.org, info@rainbowpush.org

    Honorable Rev. Jackson,

    With all of the controversy involving our Chicago athletes I wanted to share this with you. In this case where have the Illinois department of Revenue, Lake County Health department, Lake County District Attorney, Illinois Attorney General, and the Illinois state police been for the below mentioned issues?

    Dear District 128 Administrator,

    I am a concerned African-American citizen and I find it extremely offensive when the “race card” is thrown out there just because! Especially when I have firsthand knowledge that Desmond Clark isn’t the model citizen and pillar of society that he claims to be.

    According to many media outlet reports; say he and his wife threw racial slurs to your faculty in front of high school parents and children? And many who were present were scared for their lives! Here’s the video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y7a_LSjyDqA
    Totally unacceptable behavior by someone who played for the Bears and presents himself as a mentor and role model to children?? At least that is what his 88 ways charity stated??

    This is how we met ex Chicago Bear Desmond Clark; My coworkers and I attended many of his radio shows and public appearances after-hours in various Chicago-area bars and restaurants. He did a lot of his weekly radio shows live at various Titled Kilt locations and many other Chicagoland venues. The listings are on the internet and at #desmondclark #dezclark on Facebook events as well.

    As a donation item that people could purchase from his 88 ways charity his soon to be wife sold his spice rub in a glass jar at these events without FDA approved packaging and labeling! He once bragged to his radio host Bryan or Ryan (don’t know his last name but should be easy to find out as they called him “non discript white guy”) that he packaged his product in his Vernon Hills townhome garage. We found out he didn’t bother to obtain a sanitation certificate, approved kitchen or commissary license and was without product liability insurance which according to Lake county IL. health department and Illinois food production laws is illegal!

    He was selling 100s of jars weekly at his events, tax free under the guise of his 88 ways charity which is NOT a non-profit organization! And according to the Illinois department of revenue; at that time they had no such registration of his charity on record!

    Here is a video he made showing him hawking his illegally packaged product at one of his charity events!
    Please view: https://youtu.be/nm8-6Y0p9oc

    He knowingly withheld this income from Lake county and Illinois state revenue officials! And if those citizen/consumers got ill from his illegal unlicensed food item it would have been huge!! Plus he cheated on paying sales tax!!

    He and his charity’s business manager noticed we attended many of his events and found out we were employed by a large fortune 500 company so in 2012 he invited our corporate office to a tailgate event his 88 Ways charity in conjunction with his real estate office Caldwell Banker Arlington Heights, IL. He solicited us to be a corporate sponsor for future events of his charity. His pitch sounded iffy, almost conniving! An official of the village of Arlington Heights stopped by to investigate the outdoor event due to the numerous complaints they received by the number of school buses that Mr Clark bussed in from the inner city. The people getting off the busses looked like street thugs and criminals!

    Our company with its vast resources did its due diligence in our investigation of Mr Clark and his charitable organization as he continued to push and coerce us to donate several thousands of dollars to him. We discovered that his charity was registered in Florida and operating in Illinois without being registered with the Illinois department of revenue as a tax free charity! It is NOT a non-profit registered in Illinois! His organization was asking for and was accepting charitable donations and he wasn’t reporting this income to the state of Illinois. A violation of the law according to the Illinois department of revenue according to our investigation! He is a tax cheat!!

    In addition please check out the links below as to the criminal activity Mr Clark and his family relative knowingly conducted in Florida. Polk county officials in that state seized a home Mr Clark owned that operated as a drug and prostitution ring. He did nothing to assist in curtailing the problem and used the same “I’m a victim rhetoric” that he and his wife are doing at this very moment in time. He doesn’t accept personal responsibility for anything.

    After our company found all of this out we rid ourselves of him! And for a short period of time he continued to contact us to donate to him but as an organization we figured if we did donate the several thousands of dollars he was asking for it would have gone directly into his pocket and not to the children he was claiming to represent! That greed is so sad!!

    Please read these links! It explains his drug and prostitution ring >>>>

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2011/02/desmond_clark_doesnt_appreciat.html

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/25/bears-desmond-clark-has-property-seized-by-police/

    I support the difficult work of law enforcement and the racism that police departments are battling within our cities that makes their jobs nearly impossible! I also understand the accusations that school boards encounter with this problem in our society so I felt I needed to speak out on this matter.

    In my opinion Mr Clark still lives in the NFL world of entitlement and thinks he can hurl the race card to receive sympathy from his fans! He recently put up a Facebook fan page to campaign his innocence and to attack his supposed attackers! It’s easy to find! He thinks he is above the law because of his football career!!

    I truly believe Mr and Mrs Clark brought this onto themselves, if racism truly existed for four years as they claim why has it taken this long for them to act on it? As a person of color myself, he and his wife have cast a giant shadow on all people of color! And his farce of a peaceful protest at the high school and the recent meeting with the school board is a phony act! He started with the racial cat calls directed at the faculty not the other way around! Mr Clark and his wife are the actual racists here!

    Good luck to those who were involved with this miscreant in clearing their names as the Clarks’ have dragged or will drag through the mud in the future!

    A concerned citizen….

    A. Ahmed Jr.

    Wauconda, IL.

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