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Trueheart back in City Hall and eager for her day in court

trueheart back in CH

Trueheart back in City Hall, after a District Court judge ruled she could return.

Photo by: Fern Shen

Activist Kim Trueheart today turned down an offer to have her case moved to the stet (or “inactive”) docket and succeeded in getting a District Court judge to suspend her police “banning” and permit her to return to City Hall pending trial.

Asked why she chose to move forward with her case, the frequent mayoral critic and City Hall habitué  said she came into the Eastside District Court building determined to accept nothing less than “complete exoneration.”

(A case moved to the stet docket could ultimately result in its expungement, but it could also be revived. The maneuver means the defendant has waived their right to speedy trial.)

“I didn’t want this hanging over me indefinitely,” Trueheart said afterwards outside the #7 basement courtroom, where more than a dozen supporters gathered to find out what would happen to her.

After reading papers submitted by Trueheart’s attorney J. Wyndal Gordon, District Court Judge Gregory Sampson lifted the release conditions imposed upon her after she was arrested on Wednesday Jan. 23. But in granting Trueheart permission to return to the building (from which she had been banned for allegedly disrupting a Jan. 16 news conference) Sampson issued her some stern advice.

“Common sense dictates that your client act appropriately any time she goes to public places,” Sampson said.

“As she always does, Your Honor,” Gordon replied.

“She Speaks for Many”

Trueheart’s hearing was set for March 14 at 8:30 a.m. in the 700 E. Patapsco Avenue District Court building. She faces misdemeanor charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a law enforcement officer.

The supporters who came to court ranged from her mother and other family members  to people who had never met the 55-year-old Trueheart and knew her only from news stories and online discussion.

“I refuse to have my daughter – her name and reputation – be damaged in any way,” said a livid Mary Trueheart. “She has her own principles and beliefs and I expect her to exercise her rights and stand by her beliefs. I would be disappointed if she didn’t do that.”

“She is supporting our children and our future. You can’t stop her,” Mary Trueheart continued. “She will not be stopped.”

Jay Gillen, of the Baltimore Algebra Project, was also at the courthouse today. He said Trueheart had been a supporter of the project, which advocates for city youth. He also said he was concerned that her arrest was part of a larger problem of police overreaction at public protests and meetings in city buildings.

“I and other members of the Algebra Project, young people, have been threatened with arrest at events in Baltimore and Annapolis,” Gillen said. “I was arrested outside the Maryland Board of Education headquarters in 2008. I was doing nothing but standing there waiting to go in the building.”

Another supporter today was Jessica Kohnen, who said she believes Trueheart “speaks for many” and said she is “disturbed by the idea that her voice is being silenced.”

“She was improperly arrested. It’s a public place. Why was she banned out of it?” said Leon Purnell, vice chairman of the city chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “She has been one of our vanguards on spending and better government.” Tessa Hill Aston, president of the Baltimore NAACP, was also there to support Trueheart.

“When she is singled out for asking the tough and legitimate questions,” said another supporter, Aaron Meisner, “then it’s time for the people of Baltimore to stand up.”

City Hall Door Swings Open

Back at City Hall,  six people were representing Trueheart at the Board of Estimates meeting, which the Northwest Baltimore resident customarily attends. Wearing placards with Trueheart’s face on them, they stood in the front of the room to make a statement about the banned activist.

By the time Trueheart got back to City Hall, the spending board’s meeting was over. Outside the building, she was greeted with a smile and a “Hello Ms. Trueheart!” by City Councilman Robert Curran, who was sitting on a bench. And then she entered, without problem.

The head of the mayor’s security detail, Derrick Mayfield, called her over for a private chat and ended it by handing her his business card.

“He told me to call him if I ever have a problem,” Trueheart said. “I guess he is my personal police officer.”

Under the watchful eye of City Hall security officers,  Trueheart stood by a back wall and listened as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan Pratt and Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot held a press event to kick off American Heart Awareness Month.

She took a few pictures and made no comment.

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  • davethesuave

    Whether it be a politician or a radio talk-show host, or someone in between (and those two are not that far apart really), power accrues more power to itself, and “progresses” to a state of arrogance.  The subsequent step is squelching dissent.  
    The Kim Truehearts of the world stand athwart the tracks, at risk to their health, and as demonstrated in this series of events, their freedom as well, and yell “STOP” at the on-coming, runaway train.Whether we agree or disagree with her tactics or her leanings or her fundamental beliefs, the fact is we need a LOT more Kim Truehearts in this nation.  Just stop and think about the lives that are lost day after day due to the stupid and/or callous decisions made by those in charge and the murky picture becomes a bit more clear.  From the “Drug Wars” to the illegal Wars in the Middle East, thousands of citizens lose their health, and freedoms, and lives, only because we do not stand up and say “enough is enough”.  I am so thankful to Kim Trueheart and those brave enough to do what she does.

  • MrGiordano

    Welcome back KT…always a level of comfort knowing that you and Rhonda are down there fighting for our people – without seeking news cameras and media coverage, but only seeking truth on behalf of the citizens of this city! Great coverage from the Brew team as usual?!

  • Chris Delaporte

    Kim:  I am glad U R back and that U R going to see your court matter through.

    It is a regular Dungeons and Dragons down there in city hall, and you represent a new and potent force for pulling back the curtain on those who have a sense of absolute entitlement in spending other peoples money. 

    They brook no checks nor questions about their behavior, which is increasingly characterized by incompetence and misguided deeds.

    You know, as do I, they have no claim on the term transparency. Your specific case is an example. 

    The very fact they had your eyes, your ears and your brain removed from that place is evident they give no meaning to transparency.  

    Your behavior—the behavior of a citizen advocate, which would be accepted as a critical and useful spark in charging up the machinery of the so-called democratic process in any adult city—is not valued and certainly not seen as an essential ingredient to democracy here in Baltimore. Nor is there any reflection or appreciation of the life of Mencken and the values it instilled in our culture: always look once, then again and then thrice, said he

    His nose always seemed to be in the right place but at the wrong time for others.

    Dissenters give definition to the status quo and the majority. 

    If we don’t know the other side of things, then we would not know front from back, 

    If there were no contrasts to the eye, then there would be no black, nor white.

    Don’t blink and soldier on. 

    And thank you for your life long service to our nation. 

    Respectfully,

    Chris T. Delaporte
    The Park Advocate

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