Student Charged in Fight With Santa Monica Teacher Pleads Not Guilty
An 18-year-old student at Santa Monica High School pleaded not guilty Tuesday to five misdemeanor charges related to a classroom fight with a teacher that was caught on cellphone video.
Blair Moore, a Los Angeles resident, was arraigned in the Airport Courthouse, according to the Santa Monica Police Department Sgt. Jay Moroso.
Moore was taken into custody April 4 after allegedly being involved in a physical altercation with science teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black, who was placed on paid leave pending an investigation.
Moore pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of threatening a school official, one count of possession of a box cutter on campus, one count of possession of marijuana, and one count of force or violence against a school employee in retaliation for an act performed in the course of his or her duties, Moroso said.
The marijuana charge was for possession of less than 28.5 grams, according to Moroso.
Moore was released from custody with an order not to harass, strike, threaten or assault the victims named in the case, Moroso said.
Moore was due to appear in court again on April 22.
An unidentified 16-year-old boy from Santa Monica was also detained in connection with the fight, Moroso said.
Since the altercation, which was caught on cellphone video, members of the school community have rallied in support of Black, with a Facebook page garnering thousands of “likes” and a change.org petition gathering signatures.
Meanwhile, some said the incident reignited concerns that Black had in 2011 failed to timely report an alleged hazing incident involving a black student in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
A member of the wrestling team accused teammates of chaining him to a locker, and told police that wrestlers “had hung a noose around a brown wrestling dummy and made racially charged remarks,” the Times reported, attributing the information to the president of the Santa Monica-Venice branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Black was among those under fire in that 2011 incident because the victim’s mother was not notified for weeks, Darrell Goode of the local branch of the NAACP told the Times.