Virginia Republicans and Governor Glenn Youngkin are defending their decision to pardon a man who was arrested for protesting the cover-up of his daughter’s rape by school authorities.
Scott Smith was arrested for disorderly conduct after he challenged a Loudoun County school board for covering up his daughter’s rape at a school board meeting in 2021. His daughter had been raped in the girl’s bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt.
Despite the extreme circumstances, Smith was still charged by the local prosecutor, Buta Biberaj, with disorderly conduct. Many have argued that Biberaj should have chosen to drop the charges given the circumstances, including a grand jury report which revealed officials ignored multiple warning signs and didn’t expel the rapist over fears of transphobia.
Youngkin issued a pardon to Smith and called the charges “baseless,” sparking an outraged response from Biberaj, who issued a statement accusing Youngkin of having “failing presidential aspirations” and claiming he was “anti-police.” She further argued that Smith’s pardon set a “dangerous precedent” for ignoring laws in the name of activism.
Gov. Youngkin is once again using Loudoun County for his political gain. My full statement below. pic.twitter.com/fPYEksC93T
— Buta Biberaj (@ButaBiberaj) September 10, 2023
The pardon sparked further outrage from other local Virginia Democrats who decried Youngkin’s decision as being evidence of their “anti-police” stance. In reality, this seems to be nothing more than an attempt by opposition parties to score political points. The idea that Republicans blindly support the police no matter what is false.
Youngkin, however, maintained that his decision was just and that critics were missing the point. “The incident we pardoned demonstrated a clear injustice, and hence why it was important that he was able to fully and freely exercise his First Amendment right.”
At the same time, Youngkin has reiterated his support for law enforcement, stressing that the pardon should not be seen as any kind of indictment of the police. “I cannot stress enough that our support for law enforcement remains absolute. We expect our officers to remain unbiased and to treat all citizens with respect.”
The pardon of Scott Smith has become a rallying cry for Democrats and Republicans alike. Republicans have used it as a way to demonstrate their commitment to standing up for citizens who have been wronged, while Democrats have used it as evidence of their supposed “anti-police” stance. Whatever the motivation, the sound of Scott Smith finally being exonerated has definitely been heard throughout the nation. In these tumultuous times, many people will likely find empowerment in knowing that justice is still possible.
Didn’t law enforcement make these charges…Guess he doesn’t “Back the Blue” as much as we thought…
— Delegate Candi Mundon King (@CandiMundonKing) September 10, 2023