Homeschool Parents Pepper Sprayed, Tasered By Missouri Sheriff, Deputy in Front of Children

Taser Credit Jason EsbainNEW HAMPTON, Mo. — A Christian homeschooling organization has filed a legal challenge against a Missouri sheriff and his deputy after they pepper sprayed and tasered a couple in front of their children when they refused to let them in the house without a warrant.

The situation occurred in September 2011 after a Missouri Child Protective Services (CPS) agent had visited the home of Jason and Laura Hagan of New Hampton following a complaint of a messy home. When the caseworker sought to return a second time for a follow-up, the couple refused. CPS then called the police.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Sheriff Darren White and Chief Sheriff’s Deputy David Glidden then arrived at the home, seeking to enter. Mr. Hagan told the men that they needed to obtain a warrant from a court.

When Glidden stated that he would enter anyway, Hagan turned to go back in the house, and was consequently pepper sprayed in the back of his head, and then in his face. Mrs. Hagan was then sprayed as well.

As Mr. Hagan was still standing after the ordeal, he was then tasered, which caused him to fall to the floor just inside of the door. Mrs. Hagan then closed the door on the deputy.

But at this point, White joined Glidden on the porch, and together they busted open the Hagan’s door, forcing their way inside. They found both Mr. and Mrs. Hagan lying on the floor and began pepper spraying them again. They also sprayed a “chemical agent” on the dog and threatened that they would shoot if he did not stop barking at them.

The Hagans were then handcuffed and charged with child endangerment and resisting arrest, and the children were taken to the hospital for exposure to the pepper spray used by the sheriff and his deputy on their parents. The children at the time were ages 13, 10 and 8.

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As the Hagans were then forced to appear in court to answer for the charges, a judge instead found that Glidden and White had violated the couple’s Fourth Amendment rights by forcing entry into their home without a warrant.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” the constitutional amendment reads.

According to the Legal Information Institute, “[t]he Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that ‘each man’s home is his castle,’ secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.”

The judge agreed that Glidden and White’s actions were consequently inappropriate in this regard.

“The court will not allow [an] exception to sanction warrantless entry into a private residence by pepper spray and taser,” the judge ruled. “If the officer had a warrant in hand and such force was necessary, that is a different story, but those are not the facts of this case.”

Therefore, as the criminal matter was dismissed against the Hagans, HSLDA has now filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the sheriff and his deputy to seek retribution for the ordeal that they went through three years ago.

“All too often, law enforcement officers and child-welfare workers act as if the Fourth Amendment does not apply to CPS investigations. They are wrong,” wrote Senior Counsel James Mason in a recent email to supporters. “The Fourth Amendment is a legal shield that protects people from exactly the kind of mistreatment the Hagans endured.”

“When HSLDA takes cases like the Hagans’, we do not intend to show disrespect for law enforcement officers. We know that they have a difficult job,” he said. “[But] if we stand by and allow law enforcement to flagrantly disregard our Fourth Amendment rights, those rights will be eroded and eventually ignored. And real parents and real children will continue to be harmed.”

Photo: Jason Esbain

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  • Spicy Ray Swinehart-Patrick

    The Judge ruled well in this case, often unheard of lately.

    • John Smith

      They too often view themselves as enablers of the State that cuts their checks, since most govt. employees view taxpayers as sources of funds to be extorted rather than as their employers.

  • Neiman

    Yes the judge was absolutely correct, he is one of the few that understand and stands by the Constitution. CPS and the police have increasingly become part of America’s war against Christ and the Church. I would hope the city has to pay them millions of dollars, but sadly the poor innocent citizens will have to foot the bill. Better yet, the CPS worker and the police should have to pay all damages and lose their jobs.

    • Frank

      I believe they should also be charged with armed assault and battery or whatever that states equivalent is plus a few other laws they broke just like anyone else who breaks the law. I believe in the rule of law and support police and all that but this was a flagrant and willful breaking of the law and since it was done in front of the kids – child abuse, there are many types. Officers should never be above the law. This will scar those kids for life.

      • John Smith

        Scarring the kids might not be a bad thing as too many are conditioned to accept authority w/o question, especially when inured and indoctrinated to the concept in public schools. We can bet these kids will never look upon police as anything more than tools of state oppression.

    • The Last Trump

      Another very revealing look at just who law enforcement views as their enemy. This particular judge made the right call. But the writing is on the wall. Our countries, and the entire world for that matter, have declared war on Christianity and Jesus Christ. It’s beginning to feel a lot like 1930’s Germany folks. These guys will not stop until these judges are replaced or we are simply summarily convicted of “hate” crimes. Persecution is coming. We need to prepare ourselves to go through what we must, no matter the cost. Christ is watching His flock. This shall be OUR greatest hour. Let’s not disappoint.

      • Neiman

        I agree, but fortunately for Christians, I believe we will escape the worst of it, as Christ will remove His Church before the clock starts on the 7-years of hell on earth. Sadly, those saved during The Tribulation will suffer beyond our imaginings.

        On the other hand , we can take some comfort in our faith in God, because He told us all this would happen and it is amazing to see prophecy unfolding before our eyes.

    • Joe Blow

      Do you really think Jesus would have told people to shut up and would have thrown nasty comments to others because he thought that was a good way to treat his loved ones.I know how Christ wants us to behave like being a Christian myself but you need to rethink what kind of an example are you setting by thinking your helping with your remarks.Please refrain from responding with a nasty remarks because I don’t and will not respond to nastiness.

      • Neiman

        What are you talking about? What nasty comments? Are you having an emotional breakdown?

  • James Grimes

    The Judge was correct. The original intent of the Fourth Amendment was upheld by the court.

  • Marie Adigwe

    While the police’s actions were inappropriate, I don’t see what the couple’s faith has to do with anything. This could happen to anybody of any faith. The judge ruled well though.

  • Maranatha2011

    This was really over the top, especially considering that nothing this bad seemed to have happened to the Ferguson looters/rioters. I fervently hope that these parents sue, and are financially set for life. Sadly, it’s the only thing some people understand.

  • Gary

    Clear case of abuse of power by the cops. Lawsuits should be immediately filed against the officers and their employers seeking millions of dollars in actual and punitive damages. If the lawsuits are thrown out of court by corrupt judges, then more drastic measures should be taken against the abusing officers.

  • cashcraze

    What does the children being homeschooled have to do with this?

    • CherryAnn1000

      There are an awful lot of busybody neighbors and govt agencies always looking for some way to bring disrepute on homeschoolers, and this is just one example. These complaints are never based in fact, but the fact that the individual or agency doesn’t approve of people schooling at home. Glad it blew up in the sheriff’s face.

    • raytheist

      It probably has nothing to do with the incident, except to sensationalize the issue and pretend there’s some imaginary war against Christians and/or homeschoolers. Yes, they should have had a warrant, and yes, they should have followed procedure, and yes, the family’s rights were probably violated if there wasn’t a warrant.

      On the other hand, if there is not a genuine problem when CPS comes calling, it is smarter to let the CPS investigator see that there is not a problem. Resisting raises suspicion.

      But it all has nothing to do with their religion or their homeschooling, and everything to do with child welfare and making sure the home is safe for children.

      • Lone Eagle

        “If ye love wealth better than liberty,
        the tranquility of servitude
        better than the animating contest of freedom,
        go home from us in peace.
        We ask not your counsels or your arms.
        Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
        May your chains set lightly upon you,
        and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

        –Samuel Adams

      • John Smith

        Bend over for Big Brother.

  • CherryAnn1000

    What would we do without HSLDA? I had it for years when I homeschooled, and despite being in a very lib state, we had no issues at all with the schools or childrens’ services. We kept a low profile, submitted the appropriate paperwork, and all was well. Once again we see childrens’ services interfering in an area they have no business in and causing havoc in these peoples’ home. So what if the home is messy? Do they have rodents roaming around? Have the dishes not been washed in weeks? Is it bug infested? If not, then these people are probably just messy and got turned in by a neighbor who disapproves of homeschooling. It happens. And I do hope the good sheriff and his deputy, as well as childrens’ service, get taken to task big time over this.

  • ma

    Throw the book at em.

  • CPS is the most dysfunctional government organization in America. With the number of child abuse cases arising OUT of CPS custody, the case workers should be tried for gross negligence.

    • John Smith

      Yeah, they’ll harass people homeschooling their children, but keep returning children who are abused to unfit abusive parents, particularly if they’re a minority and not doing so would violate their higher duty to appear PC.

  • mom58

    busy bodies always bothering good people that just want to do a good job in bringing up their children, the state wants to make us all alike and robots, robots that worship the state and not have a mind of our own…
    wish people would learn to mind their own business
    question is…do they bother people that have a messy house that go to public school or was this an act of attacking a homeschool family

  • Joe Blow

    I just thought that the arrest started on the outside of the door before the man was able to get inside and so the police were in the process of arresting him when he took shelter in his residence and since the arrest started on the outside that the police were justified in following him until they were able to arrest him.I do understand that the police do have a dangerous job in trying to protect the public which means you and me and in doing their job risk their lives everyday but what I read I don’t blame the police officers.I understand that people are so sue happy and understand the right to sue and why suing is necessary but in this case the judge should side with the officers and The couple should not be able to make a pay day out of the officers just doing their jobs and in allowing the couple to sue just makes the tax payers victims in this case.

    • Amani Sc

      Re-read. They were not trying to arrest him they were trying to gain entry into the house without a warrant.

      • Joe Blow

        I’ll wait before making any judgment because I’m sure that there was more to the story than police forcing their way into a home without a warrant and violating innocent people.I not jumping on the band wagon of trashing more police officers until I know what really went on is all.Too many people are throwing stones before they even know what direction to throw them is all.

        • Lone Eagle

          Did you not read the judge’s ruling, or did you fail reading comprehension?

          “The court will not allow [an] exception to sanction warrantless entry into a private residence by pepper spray and taser,” the judge ruled. “If the officer had a warrant in hand and such force was necessary, that is a different story, but those are not the facts of this case.”

          • Joe Blow

            Now I know why you go buy the name lone because you will be all alone with your nasty unwarranted remarks.Do you really think Jesus would have been throwing insults at his loved ones I doubt it and know for a fact from reading his words that is not what Christ did to others or would do to others.I want you to know that I have enough unwanted e-mail in my box because I will not respond to nastiness nor should I or others.Please read Christ’s message on how to treat others since you have so much time on your hands.

  • Reason2012

    The CPS couldn’t care less about “messy home” – it’s just as always the systematic censoring of and attack against Christianity and homeschooling. They want everyone in public schools being indoctrinated with_sex and perversion. Get active, people. Pray as well.

  • Kram

    I will look forward to the 6 or 7 figure civil judgment against the assailants

  • Peter Leh

    so this happened in 2011?

  • John Smith

    Why no child endangerment charges for the officers? They were the ones spraying pepper spray promiscuously without restraint and who apparently got the kids in their indiscriminate application.