Homeschool Couple Pepper Sprayed in Front of Children Reach Settlement With Sheriff, Deputy

Photo Credit: Jason Esbain
Photo Credit: Jason Esbain

NEW HAMPTON, Mo. — A homeschooling couple has agreed to accept a settlement offer from a Missouri sheriff and his deputy after they filed a lawsuit for being pepper sprayed and tasered for refusing to let police in their house without a warrant.

As previously reported, 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.

“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,” said HSLDA Senior Counsel James Mason. “The Fourth Amendment is a legal shield that protects people from exactly the kind of mistreatment the Hagans endured.”

Therefore, as the criminal matter was dismissed against the Hagans, HSLDA filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last November against White and Glidden to seek retribution for the ordeal. While the organization provided few details this week in its update on the matter, it announced that a settlement has now been reached.

“After protracted negotiations, both the officers and the Hagans have agreed to settle the case out of court,” HSLDA reported. “With the case closed, the Hagans will be able to turn the page on this chapter of their lives.”

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  • Nidalap

    Justice prevails…notice the shocked feeling about that…

    • Becky

      Justice prevailed, indeed. However, the CPS agent, Sheriff White and Deputy Glidden are still on the job. Perty scary, idn’t?

      • wandakate

        Should they still be on the job? Well, you know my mother used to say, “There is NO justice anymore, it went out with high button shoes”.
        She must have been wise.
        However, I don’t think they will repeat that mistake.
        Good for the people though who stood their ground. They weren’t stupid and seem to realize that they needed proper paperwork from the court before entering the house. They had no intentions of being taken advantage of, but these people took it anyway, and after pepper spraying them at the door, they did it again after they were laying on the floor. Mean, cruel, and unjust treatment of innocent people (innocent until proven guilty). They abused them and basically tortured them. If I were a judge they would have been dismissed from the job for a minimum of 90 days without pay (that should teach them a lesson). And they would have a hefty warning if they ever resorted to doing that again, they would be fined and also fired from their jobs.

  • Liz Litts

    Hope the caseworker was named in the suit too

    • I don’t think the caseworker will pay a cent or have a day’s trouble. When you fight with a government organization they close ranks and protect each other, to the harm of the truth, and to the harm of freedom.

  • Rebecca

    “a complaint of a messy home”??? LOL Hmmm, my neighbor who has 4 kids, whom are in public school has a messy home. Are you going after people like her??? My kids are grown and out of school and my home can be messy at times. Am I at risk??? No, this is just another one of those cases where an idiot who is against homeschooling is wanting to cause trouble. Get a life!!!

    • wandakate

      Yes, true. There are I’m sure MANY messy homes. People that have more than 3 children usually have messy homes, and those with 5 or more may have VERY messy homes, but it’s their home, it’s their life, it’s their kids and their business. What business does the government have in that regard?
      Do the citizens check out the government employees to see if their houses are messy? Abusing children is one thing, but homeschooling is the business of the parents. Some parents may not agree with the curriculum at the public school, or they can’t afford to put decent clothes on all their kids and incur the cost involved, or even the gas to run them back and forth or whatever their issues are. They brought the children into the world, and should educated them as they please, the government didn’t bring the children into the world…
      It was all it seems about “control”…Like a toothache if you don’t do something about it, it will just get worse.

  • Charged with resisting arrest? If you are NOT informed that you are under arrest, then you are free to go. Refusing to further speak with the LEO’s on your OWN property and home is well within your rights. I’m sure I would use some of the settlement money to aid in the next election for Sheriff, for an opponent.

  • Carmie

    Kudos to the judge!! Would have paid to see the faces of the assailants!

  • Superman

    If they didn’t get a million dollars, then it wasn’t a fair settlement, especially since the two cops were not fired.

  • Seniorsquadldr

    Why were the Sheriff, Deputy, and case worker NOT arrested for crimes against humanity, child abuse, and cruelty to animals? They should be arrested and held for trials at the international court in Den Haag. We the people should take them into custody.

  • I hope the settlement harms the sheriffs office for years. All the sheriff had to do was appear before a judge and ask for a warrant after presenting his “evidence”. CPS’s around the nation are out of control, they either fail to do their job, or they violate the rights of the innocent for political purposes.

  • NCOriolesFan

    Didn’t Senator Edward Kennedy remark during the Robert Bork Supreme Court confirmation process about cops busting down doors to make sure women didn’t get abortions; well Kennedy’s dead and cops busted down the front door of an innocent couple over a ‘messy’ home. Cops should have been criminally charged with breaking and entering, assault and making terroristic threats to the couple’s dog. I hope the settlement broke the town’s bank account.