Thursday, December 24, 2020

Lantana Public Library Maskless Mother/Child Expulsion FOIA 001

Here is my Lantana Public Library Maskless Mother/Child Expulsion FOIA 001 (and it appears Twitter may have already shadowbanned the account that tweeted the two minute video, though it can be seen in modified form elsewhere):

Dan Kleinman
SafeLibraries® Brand Library Education Services
Chatham, NJ 07928
SafeLibraries@pm.me
24 December 2020

Kathleen Dominguez, CMC
Town Clerk
Lantana Town Hall
500 Greynolds Circle
Lantana, FL 33462
kdominguez@lantana.org

     Re: Lantana Public Library Maskless Mother/Child Expulsion FOIA 001

Dear Kathleen Dominguez, CMC, Town Clerk:

Pursuant to Article I, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution, and Chapter 119, F.S., I am requesting an opportunity to obtain copies of public records.  On 20 December 2020, a mother of a child (and the child) were ejected by police from the children’s section of the Lantana Public Library for her not wearing a virus-related mask, as originally seen by me here: https://twitter.com/BlessUSA45/status/1340663608464859143

I know the library once had a drawbridge, but kicking a mom and her child out of a public library—the children's section no less—for not wearing a mask in a state where masks are not required seems worthy of investigation, if only to help prevent future harm, including possibly unnecessary use of police and 911 resources, let alone potentially scaring adults and children with fully armed police officers threatening moms that they might “get trespassed.”

I request police records of the incident, beginning with the 911 call referenced by the police office, and any related sequella.  Such records and the way they are made available by police are usually straightforward so there is no further need to describe what I seek.

I request library records of the incident and any related sequella.  Such records and the way they are made available by library records custodians are usually hard to obtain when a library seeks to hide public information.  I doubt that is the case here, but one never knows until it happens, so forgive me while I go into detail on what I seek.

Records may include documentation recorded on paper or electronically, including internal incident reports/records and video/security/voice recordings and may include library policies pertaining to virus-related masks specifically and library behavior rules generally that may involve expulsion from the library.  Sequella may include legal bills/invoices, emails/letters/voicemails written/spoken to or from professional organizations about the incident, including the Florida Library Association and the American Library Association, and publications in media or on social media accounts.  Emails include the BCC list and, if distribution lists are used, who are the individual recipients.  BCCs and distribution lists are for email etiquette/convenience, not for evasion of open records laws, so documentation of BCCs and distribution lists is included.  Further, librarians have been trained by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom to use personal email addresses to conduct public business without, they’ve been told, having to make such emails available for public disclosure.  So with respect to public librarians and all library employees, records include those related to the incident sent and received under personal email addresses or library/personal/group social media accounts.

Please do not redact any non-exempt information on the documents and please be sure to include all BCC lines in any emails produced.  All documents should be produced as PDFs, except for photographs (that should be JPEG), audio files (that should be MP3), and video (that should be MP4 or MOV).  If the document files are too large to transmit in one single email, I authorize you to transmit them to me either using a free file sharing service such as DropBox or to send multiple emails (as many as required to send all documents asked of you).

I request a waiver of all fees for this request since the disclosure of the information I seek is not primarily in my commercial interest and is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government, making the disclosure a matter of public interest, as it already is, such as here: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/video-library-karen/.  I run SafeLibraries® Brand Library Education Services, I'm a “library watchdog,” I publish my findings and make them available at no cost, and my findings are discussed in books and library schools worldwide.  More information about me here: https://tinyurl.com/AboutDan

Should you deny my request, or any part of the request, please state in writing the basis for the denial, including the exact statutory citation authorizing the denial as required by §119.07(1)(d), F.S.

If you have any questions, please contact me at SafeLibraries@pm.me.

Thank you,


Dan Kleinman
SafeLibraries® Brand Library Educational Services


NOTE ADDED 16 JANUARY 2021:

Lantana has provided me with a full and complete FOIA response, withholding only one document for further consideration. 

My opinion is that while the mother may have been right about masks generally or specific to her, that’s moot since she violated library patron rules that had nothing to do with masks.  She could have addressed her concerns in a manner that did not violate library rules.  Instead, she it appears she acted in a way that caused a public disturbance that you wouldn’t want to happen to you if you were in a library.  That prompted the library director to call the police to request removal of the mom, and a police woman carried out the removal order.  The sensational video showed a slice of time when the police woman carried out her duties.  But by then the damage had been done and that was not captured on video.

So basically, while the mother may have been right, depending on the circumstances, she carried on in such a way that warranted her removal from the library, and she was professionally removed.  

As such, my review of the documents released under FOIA corroborates the view of the library that I republish here:


Library Statement

LIBRARY INCIDENT STATEMENT OF FACTS

The Town of Lantana has recently received several complaints from the public regarding an incident that occurred inside the Lantana Public Library in December 2020 involving a public disturbance created as a result of a female citizen’s refusal to wear a facial covering, or face mask, while inside the library. This event was, in part, videotaped, and that videotape has recently been the subject of several social media postings.

The incident began when a library staff and a visitor requested that another citizen put on a facial covering, and that citizen refusing to do so. At this point, library staff offered to provide ADA accommodations for curbside service. This escalated into a verbal dispute between individuals inside the library, which is against Library Code of Conduct that led to a telephone call to the Lantana Police Department for assistance.

Upon arrival, a Lantana police officer determined that the subject of the call was involved in the public disturbance and was in noncompliance with Palm Beach County Emergency Order number 2020 – 12 regarding the County’s COVID-19  directive on wearing facial coverings, which as of June 24, 2020, requires or mandates that all persons accessing any Palm Beach County or municipal-owned and operated buildings and facilities, including libraries, wear a facial covering when entering, exiting or otherwise moving around such buildings and establishments.

The Palm Beach County Emergency Order 2020 – 12 was enacted by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners pursuant to Palm Beach County Code as well as by the declaration of emergency issued by Gov. DeSantis in Executive Order 20 – 52, in response to the County declaration of a local state of emergency due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This directive to wear facial coverings in County and municipal buildings and facilities, including public libraries, has been in effect in Palm Beach County since May 16, 2020.

This Emergency Order was enacted by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, not by the Town of Lantana; however, the Emergency Order continues to be in full effect and that both the Town and all of its citizens are fully subject to its terms, provisions, and requirements of that Emergency Order. A violation of the Order could subject the Town of Lantana to fines, penalties or other enforcement measures pursuant to Section 6 of the Emergency Order, which requires the Town to be in compliance.

After interviewing the subjects involved in this dispute, the Lantana police officer who responded to the call first requested, and then insisted, that the individual who refused to put on a facial covering leave the library because she was creating a disturbance in a public place. This individual complied with the officer’s instruction and left the library.

Lantana Town management has reviewed this incident which included viewing and listening to a cell phone video recording of parts, or portions, of this event involving discussions between the Town police officer and the complainant, which was subsequently posted by third parties on social media. This video only involves select portions of the event. This review by Town management has also included consultation with legal counsel.

Following this review, it was determined the police officer acted entirely appropriately in the situation, in light of the facts at hand and considerations involving the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency, and the binding compliance mandates imposed upon the Town by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners as a result of its Emergency Order number 12, as well as the various CDC protocols on COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The Palm Beach County Emergency Order Number 12 is a lawful exercise by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners pursuant to its Constitutionally-recognized police power to regulate the public health, welfare, and safety as long as the regulation is reasonable and related to a genuine public health interest in the case of the ongoing, and spiking, COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency. This right was, in fact, recognized on July 27, 2020 by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes in the case of Machovec v. Palm Beach County when he upheld the legality and constitutionality of Palm Beach County Emergency Order number 12, and dismissed that lawsuit which was attempting to have that emergency order declared as unconstitutional as it related to those plaintiffs Privacy rights under the Florida Constitution. As noted by Judge Kastrenakes, the police power right of local governmental entities to regulate the general public’s health, welfare and safety through reasonable regulation in public health emergencies has long been recognized by the United States Supreme Court since the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905.

The Town of Lantana stands behind its Police Department and its Officer in this instance and takes strong issue with any accusations or allegations of wrongdoing. Its Police Officer was simply defusing what had clearly become a public disturbance inside its library and striving to ensure compliance with Palm Beach County Emergency Order number 12. Again, the Town could be subject to monetary fines, penalties or other enforcement measures by the County for any noncompliance in its buildings whereas, in contrast, any individual not complying with the mandate has no such potential fines, penalties or other enforcement measures which they are subject to.

The Town of Lantana requests that, as long as Palm Beach County Emergency Order number 12 remains in effect, all of the citizens of Lantana need to abide by the mandate and emergency order of the Palm Beach County Board of County commissioners in this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency. The Town of Lantana remains committed to protecting the public health, welfare and safety of its citizens in the coming days.

URL of this page: 
@LantanaLibrary @TownOfLantana













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