“For the first time in months, I was able to keep food in my stomach today and I wasn’t shaking when I woke up. I slept last night.”
That was the reaction of New Jersey mother Eileen Hart after retrieving the guns that were taken from her by authorities in March, after she was arrested following a dispute over property valuation at a local tax meeting. A court ruled Monday that Mrs. Hart will not face any felony or misdemeanor charges, but has been ordered to pay a $100 fine for causing a disturbance. Hart was allowed to pick up her guns–a Glock .40-caliber pistol and a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver–on Tuesday.
In March, Hart, her husband, and her seven year-old daughter went to the New Jersey’s Gloucester Community Center to dispute a mandatory home property tax re-evaluation that had doubled the family’s property taxes. Mrs. Hart, an Orthodox Jew and political conservative, complained about what she viewed as constitutional problems with the mandatory tax re-evaluation. Hart was asked to leave the meeting after expressing her anger.
Hart alleges tax company representative Andrew Colavecchio of Appraisal Systems, Inc. became enraged after she called him a “little pencil pusher” and then pursued her to the parking lot where a conflict ensued. Colavecchio took down the Hart’s license plate number and said he was going to call 911.
Hart returned home to find five police cars waiting for her. She was accused of making terroristic threats–specifically, that she had threatened to return to the Community Center with her gun, a charge she denies. She was arrested and pressured to turn over her weapons at that time as a condition of bail and she had been without them since.
At the Monday hearing, Mrs. Hart was found to be no threat and says she plans to sue Mr. Colavecchio for defamation. The property tax issue will be resolved at a future hearing.
Photo credit: Hart family/Examiner.com