Man Arrested At DHS Graduation To Enter Diversion Program

Decatur police had charged William Castle with obstruction of an officer and simple battery.

A man will enter rather than stand trial .

William Castle, 52, of Shadowmoor Drive must complete eight hours of community service, take a day-long anger management class, pay a $300 program fee and write an apology letter to a school resource officer, said DeKalb Solicitor's office spokesman Emily Gest.

"If the defendant completes those requisites the case will be dismissed and the arrest expunged," Gest said in an email.

Castle's lawyer, J. Tom Morgan, said Tuesday night he was certain of victory in a trial, but his client accepted the diversion offer to clear his record of the arrest.

"The solicitor's office said, 'Even if you beat us, we won't let you expunge the record,' " said Morgan, the former DeKalb district attorney

Castle attended the Decatur High graduation on May 26, 2011. because of bad weather. Morgan said his client had to go outside to take a cell phone call.

Decatur police said they were stopping people from going into the gym when Castle entered from the lobby, ignored an officer's order to stop and pushed by her. Other officers got involved, took Castle to the floor and handcuffed him.

Castle's previous lawyer, John Petrey, said last year that Castle walked through an open door and was tackled from behind by an officer.

Castle was charged with two counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and one count of simple battery -- all misdemeanors.

He missed the graduation and spent the night in the DeKalb County Jail.

Diane Loupe May 02, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Completely absurd that police were so heavy handed at last year's graduation. The man wanted to see his daughter graduate, for crying out loud.
Tom Dempsey May 02, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I know this situation. The police were acting in a totally inappropriate manner. Mr. Castle has now missed a landmark moment for his child because of a police officer out of control. A poor decision by both the police department and the school system.
Barbara Belcore May 02, 2012 at 03:19 PM
This is sad and went way out of control. This man is an upright citizen in Decatur, with a wonderful reputation and family. Very sad indeed.
CJM May 02, 2012 at 04:34 PM
So relieved to hear that we are clamping down on gym trespassers and not wasting valuable police time on all the car thefts and burglaries in my neighborhood or attacks on people in the public library.
Decaturette May 02, 2012 at 05:23 PM
So sad for this wonderful long-time Decatur family who have contributed so much to the community and did not deserve to suffer such severe consequences for what seems like, at worst, a misunderstanding about graduation ticketholders being able to re-enter the gym. Everyone reading this, including those who have insisted on punishing the family, should say to themselves "There, but for the grace of God, go I...." This incident has caused many former community boosters to have doubts about the police department, City of Decatur leadership, the high school, and City Schools of Decatur. This and more recent incidents raise concerns about former and even current school resource officers and the presence of police on campus--who are they there to protect? It looks like not the students and their families. Thank goodness for J. Tom Morgan who truly cares about students and parents in Decatur.
Lea-Anne Jackson May 02, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I second what Decatur Mom said. Unfortunately this is not the only ridiculous incident I've heard about involving the same officer. It is so sad that this had happened to one of the nicest people I know. He is the last person to need an anger management class. The city manager, the school and the officer should be writing Mr.Castle an apology letter.
CJM May 02, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I agree.
JDF May 03, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I concur that Mr. Castle is owed an apology by the city manager, the school and the overzealous officer. What is it about the Decatur police who seem to spend an disproportionate amount of time harassing the good guys? My son rode his skateboard to Renfroe and part of his time at Decatur High where he and his friends were obstructed and stopped by the Decatur Police on a weekly basis. Instead of trying to inhibit the blatant drug deals on the corner of the high school parking lot they preferred to monitor the skateboarders. This is just one more example of ineffective policing by Decatur. Why don't they apologize and drop the case with Mr. Castle and proceed to more important business for which we as taxpayers of Decatur are paying? JDF
AES May 03, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Well I guess Mr. Castle is lucky a SWAT team didn't decide to shoot him when he tried to reenter the building after politely stepping outside the gym to take a phone call. Seems like every other day we read about someone who is killed by police following "procedure", often in a case where it could have been avoided. This is so messed up. It is doubly sad that the city of Decatur could not let it go and drop the case after it was clear what happened. What happened to common sense? We are another step closer to a Robo Cop world, even in Decatur.
Sonja Neely May 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Ridiculous tale of misdirected energy and authority. Begs the question . . . "and what did we learn from this?"
Bob Joe May 04, 2012 at 05:31 PM
You people are so incredibly backwards. The story leaves out key details that show that this a hole of a man deserved to be thrown into jail. Try to not be so ignorant.
Book Lover May 05, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I'm sorry Bob Joe, but your choice of language makes me think that you are the one that is ignorant. Did you know his child was graduating salutatorian(second in her class)? I would have wanted to get back in to see her if I had been him. You only get to see you're child graduate high school once. But maybe you don't have children, then I suppose you wouldn't possibly understand.
Bob Joe May 05, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I know what salutatorian means, and that has absolutely nothing to do with the case. I understand that you only get to see your child graduate once, but that is absolutely no excuse to assault a police officer. A woman police officer at that, that is outstanding throughout the community along with the rest of the police department. They were simply carrying out the orders given to them by the school system...
Decaturette May 06, 2012 at 07:19 PM
No sign indicated that you could not re-enter the gym if you left. So the parent of a graduating student gets an emergency work call due to stormy weather, goes out to take the call to be polite, tries to re-enter not knowing that it's prohibited and then is grabbed from behind, not knowing who is doing the grabbing. Who of us would not react when grabbed from behind? Be confused when thrown to the ground? Try to explain what happened? There but for the grace of God go any of us. It's understandable that the school had to improvise when graduation had to be moved inside; it's understandable that the rules were not made clear to all; it's understandable that emergency calls were not foreseen; it's understandable that the police were following rules and misunderstood that the parent was re-entering, not entering for the first time. It may even be understandable that the police assaulted the parent from behind, not knowing the parent's intentions. But what is not understandable is that only the parent is being held accountable. It would have been a big enough price missing his daughter's salutatorian graduation. But these requirements for expunging the arrest from the record, while no one else is held accountable for the other mistakes, is an injustice. We want our city, schools, and police to uphold the law but not at the risk of harsh and unjust treatment. This series of events could happen to any of us.
CJM May 14, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Bob Joe, your comments remind me of the old saying, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, sir. You do not know the gentleman in question nor what happened. I do. As for, "They were simply carrying out orders...", that defense didn't work at Nuremberg and it doesn't work here. This is not the first time the DHP have pulled these goon squad antics on upstanding citizens. It is deeply troubling.
Mair May 16, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I was at the graduation ceremony that evening... There were NO signs and NO courtesy instructions to attendees about no re-entry if you exit. No re-entry for an adult taking a phone call outside a crowded gymnasium before the event even began? I don't get it.
Decaturette May 16, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Yup, that's what I've heard from multiple sources as well. Any of us parents who have work beepers, blackberrys, and/or phones to take emergency calls could have misunderstood and ended up in jail with a ruined graduation night and reputation. This has frightened many in the community. Fear and distrust is not good for the City of Decatur.
Edward Daniel January 06, 2014 at 05:23 PM
I was almost arrested myself. Missed my child's graduation that night. At least two of the cops their including the incompetent grossly overweight woman who was "assulted" by Mr. Castle could not have been more obnoxious and the resource officer that had always been great with the kids during the year obviously felt the need to join forces. What happened that night was pathetic. I complained to the principle about it and she blamed the cops. I complained to the police chief about it and he blamed the school administration. I am amazed that Mr. Castle had to spend the night in jail. Saw the whole thing and how he was manhandled. Wish I had seen this post earlier and wish I had communicated with his attorney. It gets under my skin two and a half years later.


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