Apr 27, 2011

Via BlackAmericaWeb:

A judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma has dismissed the case of Lynnette Dixon, a black elementary school principal who was arrested and charged with obstructing an officer when she questioned the search of her daughter’s home last month, Dixon's attorney confirmed.

Dixon’s case, reported Tuesday on BlackAmericaweb.com, had attracted national attention. But it’s not completely resolved because she must wait to learn what happens with her job. She has been on paid leave since early March.

An email made public last week revealed a concerted effort by Gary Rudick, chief of police of Tulsa Public Schools, to persuade Tulsa Police to build a case for firing Dixon.
After the email sent to police by Rudick was made public, the school system placed Rudick on leave.

Dixon’s attorney, Richard O’Carroll, said he was not surprised by the dismissal of the case.

“It was inevitable. They were backed into a corner. They had to do it,” O’Carroll told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Basically, the judge in the case declared unconstitutional the local law that fined Dixon for speaking up, O’Carroll said. The prosecutor then dropped the charges, and the case was dismissed Tuesday afternoon, he said.

Dixon had been fined $200, but paying the fine and accepting guilt could have set in place grounds for her dismissal.

Dr. William Blakney, president of the Tulsa NAACP, said several people had advised Dixon not to fight the charge.

“They told her not to bother with it,” Blakney told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “She said she had done no wrong, but the way she was treated was wrong, so she decided to fight it.”

Dixon is principal of Hawthorne Elementary School, a school with about 430 students according to its web site. An overwhelming majority of the students – 94 percent - are African-American, and 99.7 percent of the students recieve free or reduced lunch.

Dixon has overcome challenges at the school and it is not on the system’s at-risk list, Blakney said.

“She is a good principal doing a good job,” Blakney said.

The incident that led to Dixon’s misdemeanor charge and suspension from her job began when police went to the residence of Dixon’s daughter, who lives in subsidized housing. A neighbor had accused the daughter and her boyfriend of burglary, according to Dixon’s attorney.

Police were searching the apartment when Dixon arrived. She asked her daughter if the officers had a warrant. She also told her daughter to get the officers badge numbers, according to O’Carroll.

“Ms. Dixon asked them what they were doing. Instead of asking her to be quiet, they told her to leave,” O’Carroll said. Dixon insisted on getting more information.

The school system has said it could not comment on the case because it involves a personnel matter.

O’Carroll said the ordeal, which has lasted now for more than a month, has taken a toll on his client.

“I can’t tell you the impact this has had on her,” O’Carroll said. “We are hoping now that she will be back on the job by the end of this week.”


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