PORT ALLEN — An assistant district attorney for the 18th Judicial District said Monday his office has no intentions of moving forward with a case against West Baton Rouge Parish Councilwoman Charlene Gordon over allegations she used social media to threaten and intimidate her grandchild’s school bus driver.
“It’s dead on arrival. I don’t see where a crime was committed here,” said Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton.
Clayton made his comments Monday after reviewing the case and consulting with his colleagues.
Gordon declined to comment on the matter Monday afternoon.
Gordon, who represents District 5 on the Parish Council, on April 20 was arrested by the Port Allen Police Department and booked into the parish jail on a count of public intimidation and retaliation.
The councilwoman, who was released the same day after posting $5,000 bail, was accused of posting several messages on Facebook that identified the driver of her grandson’s school bus by the bus number and threatened retaliation after the two women had a few heated encounters.
The bus driver, identified in Gordon’s affidavit of probable cause as Barbara Henderson, told police the councilwoman was posting the threatening messages every time the bus driver had to reprimand Gordon’s elementary school-aged grandson.
“She has a First Amendment right to say what she said,” Clayton said about Gordon’s case. “This is just a fight between two people. They can surely sue one another, but people just don’t go to jail over what time you pick up a kid for school.”
Clayton said it would take proof that Gordon physically tried to harm the bus driver to argue a case against the councilwoman.
Henderson told police her issues with the councilwoman began the morning of April 5 during her routine pickup of Gordon’s grandson.
Henderson described the scene to authorities, saying Gordon’s grandson was “playing around” as he was approaching her bus. At one point, she said, the boy hid from her view, so she closed the bus doors, prompting him to come out of hiding.
After opening the bus doors so the boy could get on the bus, Henderson told police, Gordon yelled at her from the doorway to her home, saying, “You can leave him if you want to, but you will have to turn back around and get him.”
Later that morning, Henderson says, she was alerted to a Facebook post Gordon made about her.
“I was feeling good this morning, (thanking) God for allowing me to open my eyes,” the post reads. “Here comes this stupid unprofessional driver, you closed the door on my baby and hollering at him about what you are not going to do if you would have pulled off and dragged my baby … this would have been your last day.”
In the post, Gordon allegedly posted Henderson’s bus number (240) and the hashtag #imtiredofher.
After Gordon’s grandson received another written reprimand for bad behavior, Henderson said, the councilwoman posted a photo of her grandson on Facebook with the caption “All I can say is … THIS MEANS WAR!! #240.”
The bus driver claims Gordon, who also serves as the crossing guard for Cohn Elementary School, refused to stop traffic flow for her one day after more behavioral reprimands for Gordon’s grandson.
“We need to put something in place where police don’t put people in jail over circumstantial evidence,” Clayton said. “To arrest a public official because they just got into an argument on social media is a bit worrisome to me.”
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.