A New York father who was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing last spring for refusing to wear a mask at his son's outdoor baseball game has been cleared of all charges and plans to sue the school district.
Chad Hummel, an attorney from Rochester, New York, was acquitted of criminal trespassing charges last week after a four-hour bench trial before Judge Joseph J. Valentino, the Daily Wire reports. He faced up to 90 days in jail and professional licensing consequences after he was arrested on May 1, 2021, after refusing to wear a face covering at his son's high school baseball game, even though he and his wife were seated at least 150 feet away from anyone else in attendance.
Following his acquittal, Hummel said in a statement he plans to sue East Irondequoit Central School District, which had banned him from school property and prevented him from attending his son's graduation at Eastridge High School.
“Mr. Hummel is pleased with the verdict and he is thankful for the Court‘s thoughtful legal Decision,” he said in a press release, according to the Daily Wire.
The release accused two witnesses for the prosecution of giving "untrue testimony under oath" during the trial.
“Hummel cannot elaborate on their identity or the nature of the untrue testimony as he prepares for the civil lawsuit to come and believes that the civil litigation is the appropriate forum for that truth to come out,” the statement said.
“The Trespass charge arose from an incident where Hummel was standing alone in a field, hundreds of feet from anyone, maskless, when he was approached by security guard employed by the Irondequoit Chief of Police, Alan Laird‘s private security company in Town,” the statement recounted. “The plain–clothes guard ordered Hummel to leave his son‘s baseball game despite the Executive Order at the time that did not require outdoor masking. There was even a sign on the Stadium entrance that stated masks were optional when 6 feet apart. Mr. Hummel stood his ground and the police arrived, handcuffed him and took him to jail.”
Days after the arrest, the school district sent a letter signed by Superintendent Mary Grow to Hummel informing him that he was "prohibited from entering or remaining anywhere on East Irondequoit Central School District property or attending school district events from May 3, 2021 until June 30, 2021."
The ban period extended past the date of his son's graduation ceremony.
In previous statements to the Daily Wire, Hummel had demanded a public apology from the school district and the resignations of several officials, including the superintendent. But it appears he's changed his mind since being acquitted of the criminal charges.
“Mr. Hummel has been previously quoted as stating that, ‘[he] would accept a public apology, some resignations and a change to the school code of conduct’ in lieu of monetary damages,” the statement continued. “Now that the District sought to criminalize him, damage his professional career and hurt his family, he‘s reconsidering.”