Mother Seeking Protective Order Tossed In Jail For 'Crying While Black'

Post-Racial America

A couple weeks ago, Kassandra Jackson went to a Hamilton County, Ohio, courthouse to get a protection order, which is usually sought by people under threat from an abuser. Instead, she wound up serving two days in jail. It's like she asked for help staying safe from a genie named O. Henry.

How did this happen? Jackson was just too darn loud. She thought she'd arrived on time but was told she'd missed the 8 a.m. deadline. Is this the breakfast shift? I can get an Egg McMuffin at McDonald's all day now, but Jackson can't get a protection order after rush hour? She was understandably distressed that the climax of her personal Lifetime movie would drag out another day or so and began "crying in the hallway, paperwork in hand." After pleading her case, she turned to leave. This drew the attention of Common Pleas Magistrate Michael Bachman, who chased her down and "guided" her back to his courtroom. He went so far as to grab her by the shoulder and neck like she was a loose animal.

The low-rent judge non-judiciously held Jackson in contempt of the court she wasn't actually in and sentenced her to three days in jail for "loudly screaming" and an additional seven days for resisting the four deputies it took to carry off the one woman. The video shows that Jackson was leaving -- problem solved -- but I guess Bachman had to prevent her from committing more noise-related crimes.

Is public weeping that much of a threat to the common good that they'll lock up a mother of two? Thank God there wasn't a courthouse within earshot of my room during high school, or college, or really a good stretch of my 20s.

Jackson is a returning "special guest villain" on Bachman's personal crime-fighting series. "The Noisy Lady" clashed swords with him in the 2017 season. He denied her request for a protective order and in retaliation, she slammed her fist against a "wall placard," causing several cents in damage. Bachman sentenced her to five days confinement. Although he claims not to remember this incident, he used the word "belligerent" to describe Jackson both times. But that could just mean he needs to expand his vocabulary.

When the Cincinnati Enquirer reminded Bachman of his first bout with Jackson, he responded in a text apparently composed while driving.

"I suppose it shows ... she is a person who has now shown on at least two occasions has no sense of decorum or respect for the courts," he wrote.

I get the need to keep things orderly. After all, the courts are the "order" part of "Law & Order," but they also aren't a Victorian-era social club.

"The courthouse should be a bastion of civility," he added.

What's with this guy? Don't junkies normally show up at the average courthouse? You've got junkies in your gentleman's club, sir, strung out in the billiards room.

Actual judge Kim Burke ordered Jackson's release on September 6, after she'd been away from her children for two days.

There is some good news here: Bachman resigned on September 10 after video was released of him bum rushing Jackson. He claims he only did so to spare the court embarrassment but he would've "defended" himself if he knew the story of a guy manhandling a woman and throwing her in jail for felony noise would go "public." He thinks it's regrettable that the video lacked "audio" so we could hear Jackson's "loud and persistent yelling." This guy should really just invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. He could also probably happily open a useless but expensive trinket shop in a tourist destination. Those are always as quiet as a morgue. He could even repurpose the laminated sign that used to hang in his office. It read (in all-caps, of course): "Remove hat. Tuck in shirt. No talking."

Cincinnati defense attorney William Gallagher was "being very, very quiet" in Bachman's courtroom when he left to confront Jackson. (Bachman apparently had to "witness" Jackson's "crime" in order to railroad her for contempt.) Gallagher thought this was all very "unusual."

"The problem that I have with what occurred that day: There doesn't seem to have ever been an attempt to find out what's going on, what happened. (We) don't know this girl's story," Gallagher said.

Jackson did not wish to detail why she was seeking a protection order. "I don't think we should be locking up all the people who yell in our courtroom hallways," he said.

Hard to argue with the non-crazy person's argument here. There's no evidence that Bachman, who is white, had any racial animus toward Jackson, who's black. It's possible he's just an anal-retentive lacking in all human compassion. But if you're thinking of making noise with your shirt untucked while wearing a hat, remember Bachman is out there ... waiting.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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