Should a woman with young children go to jail and/or be fined because she brought her children to play on a playground one sunny day in the United States of America?
The Concord, N.H., City Prosecutor believes that she should because of COVID-19, and we’re asking for your help as she fights in court for our freedom to live free.
Think about this for a moment: If the prosecution wins, a working Dad will need to figure out how to raise his homeschooled children while his dutiful wife is behind bars. He will live a life without his beloved for up to two years. The children will be deprived of their mother and teacher; her loving hugs, her bedtime stories, her warm meals, her precious time, and her instruction. The woman, Rochelle Kelley of Weare, will languish in jail with other people, conceivably exposed to a new life that she never knew or deserved, as well as the dreaded COVID-19.
Is this justice?
To answer that question, let’s discuss her alleged crime:
Rochelle Kelley took her five young children to Rollins Park in Concord, N.H., on April 23, 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown. The governor did not prohibit access to public parks, because as we all know, fresh air and sunshine are natural antiseptics and help people mentally cope with difficulties in their lives, and children need to play outside for their own well being. The City of Concord; however, had roped off the playground with “caution” tape. Taking this as a warning rather than a restriction, Rochelle allowed her children to play on the playground. She wasn’t the only one. Several other mothers and two fathers had brought their children to play there that day as well. Who wouldn’t? It was a beautiful, sunny day.
The day’s beauty faded into the gray overtone of a dystopian fiction when two police officers, and later, four more, came to order the children to get off of the playground. Rochelle immediately complied. This is an incredibly important point. After complying, she engaged in cordial conversation with the officers, asking them what authority they were claiming to order children to get off of the playground. She asked them specifically whether their police training included knowledge of the Constitution and the rights we enjoy as Americans. She asked them on what lawful grounds they were ordering her children stay off of the playground. She was respectful. She had already obeyed their order. She was just trying to understand what seemed, and should seem to you, to be an unlawful order.
Unfortunately, the story at this point becomes muddled by other mothers who also engaged with the police. Some of them did not comply. Some of them were rude. Some of them were belligerent. This was wrong. Importantly, Rochelle did not participate in this behavior, and there is video evidence that proves this. In fact, a few days later, she called the police department to apologize for the treatment they received from the other mothers, and she bought them dinner as a gesture of good will. She thought that was the end of it.
Fast forward two months: A warrant for Rochelle’s arrest was issued by the City of Concord. They didn’t tell anyone about it. No mail. No call. No email. Nothing.
Fast forward three more months: One of the other parents involved in April was stopped on the street in another community and advised that there was a warrant out for his arrest. He told his story to the other parents that he knew, including Rochelle. Rochelle called the City of Concord to inquire whether she also had a warrant against her, and was told that she did. She then turned herself in first thing the following morning, was booked, and thrown behind bars. She was then released on bail.
Rochelle is being charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for Criminal Trespassing and Disorderly Conduct, and is facing trial starting with a hearing on Oct. 19, 2020. You be the judge. If you believe like I do that these charges are not only unfounded, but also counter to the Rule of Law and everything that is good and true about our country, please help Rochelle fight and defeat these charges. This is not just for her future. She is standing up against this for all of us. She needs to win this case so that this can never happen again in the United States of America.
In truth, Andrew J. Manuse of Derry, N.H., Rochelle’s friend, is making this appeal on her behalf. Please be generous. This case is going to consume a lot of resources, but Rochelle is committed to taking it as far as it needs to go. P.S. I am not getting paid for this campaign and all of your money, outside of what PayPal and GoGetFunding take, goes to Rochelle.