The man who found himself splashed across TV screens and newspaper pages, being dragged from the Loudoun County School Board meeting with a bloody lip and in handcuffs, on Tuesday was found guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Scott Smith was dragged to the ground by county deputies as tempers flared at the June 22 School Board meeting, egged on by protests against new state-mandated protections for transgender students.
According to testimony in the Aug. 17 District Court trial, Smith was arrested during an argument with a woman for whose daughter Smith’s wife had been a Girl Scout leader. Deputies dragged him to the ground, then outside, where he continued struggling and arguing with them, threatening to kick their teeth out. He was taken to the Adult Detention Center and charged with the two misdemeanors.
Smith’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster of Leesburg firm Whitbeck Bennett, argued his actions up that point—arguing loudly, clenching his fist, leaning toward and swearing at the woman—did not constitute disorderly conduct. Therefore, she argued, he was unlawfully detained, which is not illegal to resist, and all charges should be dropped.
“I was in a state of shock when they took my husband down to the floor,” said Smith’s wife, Jessica.
“There’s nothing in the law nor in common sense that says an officer should wait for someone to punch someone else before calming things down,” argued Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj.
Smith was sentenced to 10 days in jail, all suspended, contingent on a year of good behavior. Biberaj also pushed for a fine and a requirement for anger management training; Lancaster argued for a moderate fine and no jail time, pointing to Smith’s largely clean record, his long residency as a small business owner in Leesburg, and his anger about an alleged assault of an immediate family member inside a bathroom by a person identifying as gender fluid.
Smith indicated he will likely appeal the decision.
“I look at that and I go, why would anybody want to be on a School Board?” said Judge Thomas J. Kelley, Jr., a retired judge who ruled on the case.