Airport protestor in court Monday

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The college student charged with disorderly conduct for an episode at Richmond International Airport late last month will make his first court appearance Monday.

While RIC police say what 21-year-old Aaron Tobey did qualifies as disorderly conduct, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney John Rockecharlie's first impression of the case brings a different opinion.

"I think the commonwealth is going to have a difficult time proving that this young man committed the act of disorderly conduct," said Rockecharlie.

The University of Cincinnati student describes standing at the checkpoint with the words of the Fourth Amendment, which protects from unreasonable searches, written on his chest:

"I was quiet and composed the whole time. I wasn't shouting to get attention. It was just me standing there quietly with my hands behind my back," said Tobey.

The video shows Tobey cooperating with officers and few, if any, other passengers seem to notice the incident. Rockecharlie explains that makes a difference because of the wording of the statute.

"The person's actions will require some sort of violent reaction or might cause a violent reaction on the part the people who hear it. Nothing this young man did in any way, shape or form would have provoked anyone," said Rockecharlie.

Tobey says his goal was to instigate a conversation about what people are willing to give up in exchange for feeling safe.

Tobey will be in court Monday at 9 a.m.

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