Disorderly Conduct Charge for Handing Out Cardboard With “Gun” Printed On It

Shorewood Hills Elementary School Principal Anu Ebbe, claims she is the victim of her own schools lack of security after she failed to take steps to lock down the school.
Shorewood Hills Elementary School Principal Anu Ebbe, claims she is the victim of her own schools lack of security after she failed to take steps to lock down the school.

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – On 22 February, 2018, a lone masked man, wearing baggy clothing, buzzed for entrance to the Shorewood elementary school. Shorewood is a pricey suburb of Madison, Wisconsin.  Many of the local elite from the University of Wisconsin have their children enrolled in Shorewood Elementary.  It was an hour and a half after classes had started.

The man was buzzed into the school, with no identification, in 2.5 seconds. His face was masked.  He walked straight down the school hall. He was not challenged or stopped in any way. Classroom doors were open and no one showed concern.

He unmasked as he entered a classroom, and handed the teacher a small piece of cardboard with the word “gun” printed on it.  He told the teacher “You let a masked man into your school”.  He returned to the office and handed the principal, Anu Ebbe, another small piece of cardboard with the word “gun” printed on it, and gave her the same message. Then he left, all before anyone raised any alarm.

A few hours later, Jonathan Fitzgerald was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Fitzgerald had filmed the incident with his ipad. The ipad was confiscated by the police.

Jonathan Fitzgerald was a concerned parent who had been attempting to bring security flaws at the school to the attention of the school administration for months.  He was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.

In a criminal complaint from the school, it was alleged staff had followed Fitzgerald, that Fitzgerald had said the word “gun” or “gunman”. The staff had not followed Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had never said the words “gun” or “gunman”.

The school administration had been embarrassed by Fitzgerald. To people concerned more about appearance than reality, it is an unforgivable sin.

I happened to be in Madison three weeks after the incident, and was able to develop some local sources and old contacts.

The previous September, Fitzgerald's daughter, in second grade, had wandered out of her classroom, out of the school, and had gone missing for three hours. No one at the school noticed or reported the event. Fitzgerald reported the incident. He met with the principal and the teacher, in the principal's office the next day. He talked to the school principal, Anu Ebbe, in person, several times, about it and lax security.

After Fitzgerald was arrested, a school official claimed, in a public meeting, that Fitzgerald had never complained to the school previously.

Madison is a very leftist town, dominated by the University. The local elites all know each other. The school administration adopted the classic crybully pose. They were the “victims”. They had been “traumatized”. The school was “disrupted”.

During the incident, no one raised their voice. No one jumped out of their chair. No one ran. The children did not show any particular concern.  When Fitzgerald approached the principal, she appeared unaware anything unusual had happened. It was all over in less than two minutes.

With elites, truth is less important than the image of those in power.  The image of Shorewood Elementary School administration had been disrupted.  The trauma was to the image of the Shorewood Elementary Principal.  Fitzgerald was charged with disorderly conduct, under the Wisconsin State Statute 947.01.

(1) Whoever, in a public or private place, engages in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

A peaceful protest to show flaws in school security, was turned into a criminal event.  Fitzgerald could not talk to the media without fear of losing his career. The police had the video. The school denied his previous attempts to have the school take security seriously.

Over several months, concern over the incident died down. Fitzgerald followed the script prescribed by local elites. He did not make any statements. He hired an attorney. The attorney attempted to recover the evidence. He asked for school records of the incident with Fitzgerald's daughter. The school administration resisted with silence. The police  eventually released a copy of the video from Fitzgerald's ipad to the District Attorney, who gave a redacted copy to Fitzgerald's attorney in May.

The attorney obtained a subpeona for the school records. The school produced the required records in late September of 2018.

Fitzgerald's attorney was willing to go to a jury trial. The attorney negotiated a plea deal. No jail time and one year probation.   Fitzgerald plead no contest.

A no contest plea is legally the same as a guilty plea. In the court of public opinion, it is different.  It means the cost of fighting the charge is more than the person is willing to spend.

The hearing occurred on 27 September, 2018, more than seven months after the event. I happened to be in Madison at the time. Local sources and contacts fleshed out what happened.

The judge was made aware of Mr. Fitzgerald's previous attempts to raise awareness of security flaws at the school.  Records obtained by subpoena from the school confirmed Mr. Fitzgerald's account of his daughter's absence and his concerns in September of 2017.

The attorney offered to show the judge the video of the incident of February 22nd 2018.

The Shorewood School Principal, Anu Ebbe, asked the judge to suppress the video showing the school incident, to insure it was never seen by the public. The request was not granted.

A local judge has to be careful. The judge is part of the local elite. Offend the local elite, and he may not remain a judge.  The school principal asked for the maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. She played the crybully card, claiming traumatization and disruption.

Her claims have validity, if you consider the trauma and disruption were to her image.

The judge eliminated the plea deal's one year of probation. He substituted 200 hours of community service, enforced by a potential 25 days in jail. From wicourts.gov:

Defendant is sentenced to 25 days in the Dane County Jail. That jail term is stayed for completion of 200 hours of community service.

My opinion is the judge did the best he believed acceptable to the local elite. Mr. Fitzgerald  was caught in a local power trap he did not understand or conceive of when he planned his two minute protest of lax school security at Shorewood Elementary.

If I were Mr. Fitzgerald, I would consider the 200 hours of community service a better deal than a year's probation. Complete the 200 hours, and he is a free man.  A year of probation sets up a year of potential future traps.

Some will criticize Mr. Fitzgerald for not fighting the disorderly conduct charges.  His attorney had the video evidence. The attorney had discovery evidence from the school records for his previous attempts to have the school administration correct the lax security at the school.

I do not blame Mr. Fitzgerald for taking a deal. He suffered considerable process punishment. He had to hire an attorney. They are not cheap. He might have won a jury trial, but the local media, reliably leftist, would be all against him. He is in the belly of the beast.  His career lay in the hands of the local elites, which includes the University of Wisconsin. He has a young family and responsibilities. There might have been limitations placed on the evidence his attorney had. The video was never shown in court. It has never been posted on social media.

Sometimes, a prudent person will minimize their losses, learn their lessons, and move on.

Several attempts were made to contact Principal Ebbe, but she was always said to be busy.  Principal Ebbe did not return my calls as of the time of publication.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 20 thoughts on “Disorderly Conduct Charge for Handing Out Cardboard With “Gun” Printed On It

    1. You cannot be recognized by the courts in NYC unless your a lawyer. The arrogant judges won’t allow you to defend yourself in any situation.

    2. This is clear evidence our country is now occupied by leftist. The action of this woman to use the force of government to have a parent arrested and prosecuted makes her an evil turd with a smile. Look at her picture and think of a turd with a smile. She should be arrested for making a false police report. The parents action of quietly calling attention to the lack of security at the school was not a disturbance. All across this country our institutions of Education, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the Judiciary are controlled by ultra leftist, and no one really knows the extent they are brainwashing our children.

    3. I live 60 miles from Madison, just barely in Wisconsin, but in its TV coverage area, having moved into this area to be within reasonable driving distance of our adult children and their families. What has been most disconcerting is that the people in this area generally accept “Madison Think,” a national epidemic that is not just confined to the “Belly of the Beast,” as the preferred and best idea for America. Because cable and satellite services cost so much, a large number of people in Perverted Pocan’s congressional district (he is running unopposed, which tells you about how pervasive Madison Think is) never hear anything but the leftist views that come from over-the-air news and talk because they opt for the less expensive but poorer reception of antennas (the reception being poor for various reasons, including the death of analog TV by the forced move to HD television). However, Madison Think is not unusual for a Capitol city; having lived in and experienced life in another Capitol city in an unnamed state south of Wisconsin, it is obvious that the people who work in government centers don’t want anything to rock their boat and threaten change, so group think in necessary to maintain the comfort of the status quo. Therefore, you get coverups like the Fitzgerald debacle where right becomes wrong while wrong attitudes and behaviors are whitewashed. In other words, the DC swamp can be found in many places outside of the nation’s Capitol.

    4. I think it’s great that the idea is being pushed that we’re all in constant danger and our kids should be made neurotic by this perpetually emphasizing and amplifying life’s perils.

    5. This was a brilliant piece of security theatre, and props to him for so boldly pulling it off. He smeared all kinds of brown stuff all over the faces of the school admin……..

      He failed to consider a few things, thouth.. the deep connexions the school hooh hahs have with the ones carrying the guns, the deeper sense of entititlement and “I am goddess” instilled in that lame excuse of a school administratrix……. and how such a legal process actually functions.

      As mentioned, he SHOULD have secured that video straightaway he got back to his car, or home, or coffee shop. Dump it to the cloud, back up on a laptop, something, multiple things. THEN wipe it from the pad, so the coppers get an empty bucket.

      Reading the section of law he supposedly violated, he is innocent of any of those described acts. He did NONE of them, No one was disturbed, etc, because of his presence at the school. It takes some stones, but standing trial in pro per and seating a jury, then demanding to show them the entire video of his visit, let the jury see no one was disturbed, etc… bring in the admin he confronted with his daughter’s exposure and the records of their meetings to show he had a direct personal interest in increasing security at the school….. the jury would not be subject to the political lynching the school admin and local coppers can dish out, as they’d not be identified in any way. Making an impassioned plea to the school for securit changes, those being ignored, sets him in a position of proactively working towar fixing a proven problem. He could have really knocked it out of the park by simply asking at the end of the video “what if that had not been a mere word printed on a piece of cardboard, but a real handgun, loaded, and in the hands of a person of evil intent? THAT school would have joined a short list of others where tragedy occurred, and some of those innocent children wouild have have gone home that day.

      The judge DID walk the political tightrope, I think pretty well. He “punished” the guy, but gently. He did not bring any conseqqeunces upon the school hooh hahs, either. Always a bad move for a publically elected uffishul.

    6. This Chief should be appointed to teach “duck and cover.” Backing this guy up would have cost him his job. Never mind honesty and integrity.
      I tried similar tactics when my daughter entered first grade 20 years ago by demanding to see security plans. They of course, did not exist. The result was that I had to teach my 6-year old to get out of the school and run away if there was ever a shooting incident, or an emergency of any kind. I felt she was better off by herself running along the road to our home then in the custody of the school which had not a clue how to protect her. The school had a safety committee which was the people who supervised fire drills. Oddly enough at one school meeting I discovered DeBecker’s book, “The Gift of Fear” on the pjricipal’s seat when she got up to speak.

    7. Funny, but when I make a video on my iPad it is automatically uploaded to my iCloud account and retrievable from any of my devices. And if I were pulling a sting like this, the video would have been on YouTube, Facebook and personally forwarded to several trusted friends long before the cops could arrive.

    8. You will find most educators to be politically correct sycophants only interested in furthering their own careers. Those who do stand up for what is right have their careers derailed and exist in an educational limbo with no hope of advancing. These people do not want to address real issues of security, just like our government. Do you remember when reporters were testing the TSA screeners and slipping guns through? That all stopped when the feds made it illegal, and threatened long prison sentences. We like the semblance of security, not security.

    9. Fitzgerald made an initial mistake. He failed to secure the video. He should have immediately copied it to several flashdrives, and hand-distributed them to trusted associates… who should then copy it, and distribute the copies even further. At that point, the “authorities” would have completely lost control of the situation, and would be unable to blackmail Fitzgerald.

    10. In defense of the school, if they had seen this parent in the school before, they probably didn’t see any reason to check his ID and confront him.

    11. Whenever you hire an attorney, or one has been appointed, YOU BECOME A LITERAL “WARD OF THE STATE”! It means you are incapable of speaking for yourself, that you have very little rights other than those “appointed” to you through your attorney. The courts/judges HATE when you go Pro-Se because then they must deal with you face-to-face. But that means you have to be savvy in legal terms and procedures. It is s shame more people are not up-to-speed in this area of our lives.

      Knowing Madison quite well, it is a shame he had to deal with the leftists. Not sure though if he would have fared any better in a republican state.

      1. Mark, you may not know this about our legal system, but if you have a court appointed attorney, you will go to jail. If you ever run afoul of the law, sell, hock, borrow anything you can to hire your own attorney.

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