When I get up in the morning I always watch the local news on channel 2. Some mornings a story will really get to me and this was one of them. I already feel that we are losing our rights as citizens and when you own your home you should be able to do whatever you like in it as long as you’re not murdering people and burying them in the back yard.
Not so for Robert Schiavelli 42, and his troubles with the law in Long Island NY. Robert (pictured above) lives with his mother because he’s disabled. On Feb. 12th his next door neighbor, Daniel O’Hanian called the police on him because he could hear his exuberant laughter from across the driveway.
The police came and Robert was issued a ticket for disturbing the peace. On Feb. 13th his neighbor called the police on him again, and this time he got a summons to go to court. This poor disabled man was charged with acting "in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct, or be offensive to others."
Robert and his neighbor have had a long history of problems. Robert who has been referred to as a gentle giant by other neighbors gets harassed by his neighbor every time he gets the chance. He calls him names, taunts him and makes fun of the way Robert acts which in my book is an offense by itself. Don’t disabled people have rights too?
Robert suffers from neurological impairments and sometimes has seizures so he spends most of his time at home and can’t drive a car. He is a simple man who instead of getting angry about his neighbor making fun of him he has tried to laugh it off. He has a loud, distinctive belly laugh that once you hear it you’d know it anywhere. I heard it while the news story was on. Loud yes, but nothing to go to jail over.
At his arraignment on Tuesday a judge declined to dismiss the charges against him. Sadly, it’s the offensive O’Hanian (his neighbor) who might have the last laugh. “The last time I checked, it was not a crime to laugh-except in Rockville Centre,” his fuming lawyer stated; “I will never let him take a plea on this.” A return date hasn’t yet been set.
If convicted Robert will face a total of $500 in fines or 30 days in jail for the complaints. It’s clear that jail is no place for this child-like disabled man.
I searched for a video of the news story on YouTube but it was taken down. That could mean anything but it was still strange.
I don’t own a home but if I did I’d be livid with rage. First at having a neighbor treat me like this when I’m disabled and second for being arrested and threatened with time in the slammer for laughing in and on my private property.
I already feel we are losing our rights all over the place. Corporations and name-brands seem to have more rights than individuals and between the laws and the government individuals will always get the short end of the stick. I have seen it happen and here’s another case.
I hope that Robert gets a fair shake and not get harassed just for having loud laughter. We all need to learn to laugh a little more before we get mad. That neighbor will never let them hear the end of it if he gets his way.
This story isn’t over. Have to wait and see what happens to the poor guy and his nasty sounding neighbor.
What do you think of this case? Or maybe you don’t think we are losing our rights at all? I’d love to hear some comments on this post.
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