A New Jersey mother was arrested, and charged with making terroristic threats and causing a public disturbance. She was also told extra jail time would be arranged if she didn’t turn in her guns. She claims all she did was read the Constitution at a meeting to protest her property tax reassessment.
Eileen Hart, the mother in question, was at a city meeting because her property assessment had come back abnormally high and she wanted to appeal. The City of Monroeville in Gloucester County, NJ was arguing that since Eileen had not let inspectors in to assess her property, they were allowed to “assume” the value for property tax purposes. The new assessment was significantly higher than previous ones, which is odd considering property values are down an average of 20% across New Jersey. Eileen was also told she cannot appeal, again because she did not let the inspectors in.
Eileen was protesting this obvious breach of her rights, and making the case that she has not updated her home in 3 decades so it seemed like the assessment was out of whack. She began to pres the case that of course she had rights to appeal and the town could not arbitrarily assign a value to her home and give her no mechanism to challenge it. She claims that when she started reading the Constitution the city and state authorities began to bully her and threaten her.
She was finally told to leave or the police would be called. She admits to referring to the assessor as a “pencil pusher” on her way out of the meeting. She thought that was it but when she got home the cops were waiting for her. They ripped her from her family and told her the city officials claimed she had made threats related to gun violence. She also claims that while she was being processed she was told that if she did not turn in her guns her bail would be set prohibitively high to keep her in jail.
The question then is whether this woman really caused a disturbance or is an innocent victim of low level bureaucrats trying to prove a point. I do find it conceivable that “petty tyrants” with a little bit of power overreact when their little bit of power is challenged. Even more discouraging, is the use of vague accusations of “terroristic threats” as a pretext to take away a citizen’s guns. This case bears watching.