Pipeline opponent cleared of wrongdoing after speaking out at public meeting
A Lancaster County schoolteacher and opponent of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline had a disorderly conduct conviction against her thrown out by a county judge Tuesday.
In April, 54-year-old Kimberly Kann was arrested for failing to follow special meeting rules in Conestoga Township, which permitted people to ask questions but barred them from making statements. During the meeting Kann stood up to correct what she viewed as misstatements about a ballot initiative to study home rule. Pipeline opponents had been pushing for the measure in an effort to block the Atlantic Sunrise project.
Although the disorderly conduct conviction was $325 between a fine and court costs, Kann spent about $3,000 appealing it.
“I’ve had a lot of crap thrown at me over this,” she says. “But if you’re not willing to deal with that, and spend the money, it ends with people who speak up getting thrown out of the room. That’s scary to me.”
Lancaster County Judge Louis Farina found the Commonwealth and the Southern Regional Police Department failed to meet the burden of proof in the charge. The definition of disorderly conduct involves creating an annoyance, inconvenience, or alarm to the public.
Video of the entire meeting was posted online by Conestoga Township. It shows Kann spoke for less than two minutes before the police intervened.