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School principal guilty of assaulting reporter on campus

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School principal guilty of assaulting reporter on campus 08/25/97 WASHINGTON, D.C.--A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that a charter school…

School principal guilty of assaulting reporter on campus

08/25/97

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that a charter school principal was guilty of misdemeanor assault and theft in early August, stemming from an incident involving an attack on Washington Times reporter Susan Ferrechio in December 1996. Three other school employees were also found guilty of similar charges over the incident.

Mary A.T. Anigbo, principal of Marcus Garvey Public Charter School, a privately run public school, was convicted of three counts of simple assault for attacking Ferrechio and two police officers at the school and one count of taking property without a right for confiscating the reporter’s notepad.

Ferrechio, who was preparing a story on charter schools, entered the school to talk to Anigbo after her calls for an interview went unanswered. An office manager gave her permission to interview students, she testified, but while questioning a few of them, she was confronted by Anigbo and pushed, punched, taunted and ordered to leave the school.

When police escorted Ferrechio and Times photographer Clifford Owen back to the school a short time later, Owen began taking pictures. Anigbo and the other officials objected, and Owen and the officers were then pushed, shoved and hit by the four defendants and several students, according to the testimony of Owen and the officers. Owen’s camera was taken by one of the school employees. Police were able to retrieve the camera, but the school refused to return Ferrechio’s notepad, which had notes from other interviews for her story on charter schools. Anigbo claimed that Ferrechio had taken the notepad from her office.

Two teachers, Serena Smith and Barrington Smith, and Anigbo’s niece, Brenda Gatlin, who is the school’s office manager, were also found guilty of assault. Gatlin was also found guilty of taking the reporter’s notepad. Sentencing is scheduled for October. (D.C. v. Anigbo)