At the Tuesday Cherokee City Council meeting, a citizen criticized the manner in which Steve Schuck, Cherokee police chief, arrested her son, 17-year-old Washington High School student. Schuck subsequently defended his actions as reasonable and necessary.
"Steve Schuck, you treated my son with hate," Michelle Linn said at the council meeting. Linn accused Schuck of putting on a big show in handcuffing her son at school an hour before school was dismissed on Nov. 18, causing embarrassment and trauma to the boy.
He was taken to the YES Center (a juvenile detention facility) to be held overnight, causing further embarrassment and trauma, according to Linn.
She said that she had talked to the city administrator, Ron Strickland, about the matter and was told by Strickland that Schuck was doing his job.
The statements were contained in a letter Linn read to the city council and subsequently submitted to city officials with a request for a response.
In answer to a question on why her son was arrested, Linn said that it resulted from an unpaid fine for failure to have insurance.
In addition to paying the $200 fine, there were other costs charged after the arrest, including $150 for the overnight stay at the YES Center.
The letter read at the city council included other allegations against the city. Linn accused the city of demanding a bribe - a requirement that $2,000 be paid in order for charges to be dropped.
Linn accused the city and the sheriff's department of incidents of discriminatory and inappropriate activity against her personally in the past.
Schuck presented to the council a copy of the court order from Judge Ryan Kolpin, ordering the Cherokee Police Department to bring the juvenile into custody on a warrant for contempt of court.
According to Schuck, the juvenile was notified of the need to appear prior to the contempt warrant being issued.
"I can't disobey a court order," Schuck said. "It's a matter of being damned if you do and damned if you don't."
Schuck said that the arrest was made in a school office and that the juvenile was allowed to call in an attempt to get bond money before being taken to the YES Center.
Schuck said that the juvenile was handcuffed in front with the cuffs covered, although policy is to handcuff a person being arrested in back. Schuck said waiting until school was over would mean arresting him in a parking lot in front of everyone.
Council members indicated that the letter would be viewed by the city attorney and a response made.
Strickland said, "I know exactly what happened. The chief did his job, end of story."