Jury finds mom guilty in Decatur library case | ajc.com By Marcus K. Garner
Yesterday at my branch, there was a complaint to the branch manager about the library being very loud. Normally, this branch is quite but on our late night, we had two library events plus kids doing homework. So, yes we were louder than normal but we were no less than a library. We are a community center whereby people meet up and use our facilities many reasons.
After reading the article below, I was struck by the last sentence, “Library officials had Foster tossed out Oct. 11. after her son Savon laughed as she used a computer.” Laughed?!? Really?!? There are plenty of bad parents who use the library by getting on the computer and paying no mind to their screaming and/or upset child. Those are the type of patrons that ruin the library experience for everyone.
Having read over my Library Rules of Conduct & Eviction Procedure, I would not have let the situation below to have reached the levels it achieved. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 but given the nature of the mother using the computer to look for work while having the baby her side, there should have been some leeway from the librarian. The Library serves the needs of the community and in the case of Donetta Foster she was using the library to look for work. If she had used Facebook or doing something else recreational, I would have sided with the librarian. Not to say that librarians have to judge the worthiness of your time being in the library but we need to be flexible. Do we not give extra time to patrons who used up there alloted time when looking for work or doing homework? Do we not improvise when things simply don’t go as planned? I’m just sorry to see how this situation had manifested to the point where law enforcement and courts became involved. There is no reason this could not have been handled better on all accounts involved.
After deliberating for 90 minutes, a DeKalb County jury Wednesday night found the mother arrested in a fracas over her baby at the Decatur public library guilty of obstructing a law enforcement officer.Christopher Seward, firstname.lastname@example.orgDonnetta Foster, 20, is on trial after being charged last fall with disorderly conduct after a clash with library staff and Decatur police at the Decatur library on Sycamore Street.
Donnetta Foster was sentenced to 12 months: Two days in jail with credit for two days already served, and the remainder of the sentence on probation.
Judge Janis C. Gordon told Foster she also would have to perform 40 hours of community service and attend three parenting classes, three child impact classes, three “Alternative Path for Women” classes, and a day-long intensive anger management class.
Foster could have gotten up to a year in jail.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, DeKalb Solicitor-General Sherry Boston said, “The bottom line is that this defendant was given a simple, lawful command to leave the library more than a dozen times by a police sergeant who was using a clear and calm voice.”
Foster, in response, “ranted, vented, complained and cursed” for 48 minutes and refused to obey the officer, leaving him “no choice but to arrest the defendant,” Boston said.
In a statement issued after the verdict, Foster’s attorney, Mawuli Mel Davis, said, “As 20-year-old college student, (Foster) did not want a criminal conviction, she had to fight. She will still move forward and make a better life for her and her son.
“She thanks all the people that have supported her,” Davis said. “It is truly unfortunate that this even went this far.”
The confrontation with library staff and police began when the woman’s 14-month-old son made noises.
“I was loud,” Foster told the jury during testimony at her trial Wednesday afternoon. “I said a few [curse words]. I’m embarrassed. But I felt like I had been wronged by the library and wanted the officer to help.”
Library officials had Foster tossed out Oct. 11. after her son Savon laughed as she used a computer.