Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna filed misdemeanor charges Friday against Leonard Scott and Ed Moore related to an incident at the June 22 State Board of Education meeting where the two longtime conservative Edmond gadflies blocked entryways to the public meeting and attempted to implement a numerical system for attendees to gain entry.
Behenna charged both Scott, 75, and Moore, 78, with obstructing passage into a state building and disturbing state business. Moore was also charged with two counts of assault and battery for allegedly pushing a Department of Public Safety officer and grabbing a woman who tried to enter the meeting.
But Behenna chose not to follow a separate recommendation of the highway patrolman who responded and swore probable cause affidavits regarding the activities of Scott, Moore and Sean Cummings, a city councilman in The Village who confronted the other two men at the June 22 meeting. Although the state trooper recommended that Cummings also be charged with disturbing state business and incitement to riot, Behenna ultimately declined to file on him.
All three men are frequent critics and speakers at public meetings held in Oklahoma County.
“You don’t need to charge me with inciting a riot when that motherfucker was blocking the door,” Cummings said of Scott on Tuesday.
A Vietnam War veteran who received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star, Scott formerly worked as a middle school teacher in Edmond Public Schools and is known around town as “Old Ranger.” He has published a series of novels regarding the Vietnam War and is a regular attendee of Edmond City Council meetings.
During each meeting’s citizen-comment portion, Scott and other members of a conservative activist group who collectively call themselves “We The People” often claim that council members have adopted a “woke” ideology and demand for controversial items to be placed on future meeting agendas.
The charges filed Friday did not dissuade Scott from speaking at Monday night’s Edmond City Council meeting. Like many meetings before, he asked for council members to amend Article 11 of the Edmond city charter — the Recall of Elective Officers section — which requires petitioners to collect signatures equal to 35 percent of the total registered municipal voters to call an election to remove elected officials from office. Scott wants that percentage lowered. He also asked council members why they will not create an “after action” committee to review policies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as mask mandates.
After the meeting Monday night, Scott said he and Moore were trying to keep order at the June 22 State Board of Education meeting, which he called a “Black Friday event.” But he said he and Moore arrived separately and that he decided to bring numbers after a previous OSDE meeting was crowded and tense.
“People gather up, but there is no system to line up,” Scott said. “I thought the best way was just to hand out numbers. I didn’t ask whatever, I was just trying to make sure there wasn’t chaos.”
Ultimately, chaos ensued.
“[Scott] was on one side of the door, and that big fucker Ed Moore was on the other side of the door,” Cummings said, rehashing the events that led to the three men being removed from the building. “They kept saying I was being thrown out, and I don’t care. I’m going to get more buzz on social media than I’m going to get in the room.”
Moore is also a regular speaker at Edmond City Council meetings, but he did not attend Monday night’s gathering. An advisor on the board of the Edmond Neighborhood Alliance, Moore filed to run for Edmond mayor in December before withdrawing two days later.
Moore did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment prior to the publication of this article.
A spokeswoman for Behenna also did not respond to a question about her charging decision on Cummings. Asked to provide the probable cause affidavit filed against Cummings by Oklahoma troopers, Behenna’s spokeswoman declined.
“Since Mr. Cummings isn’t facing any charges from our office, the affidavit is not a public record,” said Brook Arbeitman.
The document is listed on the state’s court network, however, and the Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s Office provided a copy of it upon request.
Meanwhile, Scott called the incident and his charges a “setup.”
“These people came in and got in front of all of us and tried to go through the door. Doors [weren’t] open yet, and I stopped and said, ‘Sir, there are people waiting here,'” Scott said. “They waited in line and [Cummings] went ballistic on us. It was a setup. I say that, I can’t guarantee it, but it was a setup.”
Despite the case being listed in online court records, Scott said that, because he had not personally received the affidavit or charging documents against him, he believes they are “not true.”
“If there’s no charges, no police report, no witness statements — somebody made it up and gave it to [the media] and said, ‘Go get that guy,'” Scott said.
Moore allegedly ‘grabbed’ woman entering meeting
According to the probable cause affidavits, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Alan Beaty was alerted by OHP Lt. Ricky Gunkel to a possible fight in the Oliver Hodge Building’s lobby and that DPS security officer Brandon Smith was pushed by a man in the crowd.
Beaty heard Sean Cummings “yelling and being disorderly saying something about the state keeping people out of the meeting,” according to the affidavit. Gunkel then pointed out Ed Moore as the man who pushed Smith.
In contrast with the affidavit, Scott claimed Monday night there was no violence at the OSDE meeting.
“There was no pushing, no pulling. None of that stuff was true,” Scott said. “So that’s the real truth.”
After having Cummings, 59, and Moore step outside, Beaty advised Moore that he cannot block the doorway and cannot “put his hands on people,” the affidavit states. Cummings said he saw Moore push Smith. Beaty then provided Cummings with a witness statement form.
Scott claimed the officer whom Moore allegedly pushed was not wearing clear identification. (Cummings agreed with that assessment.) After learning the man was an officer, Moore removed his hands from the officer’s person, Scott claimed.
Beaty then informed Cummings that he cannot “yell and incite the crowd,” according to the affidavit. Cummings told Beaty that the state is only allowing “their” people into the meeting by enforcing a number system. Beaty then asked OSDE staff if Scott had any relationship with the department. OSDE staff was unaware of any number system being enforced, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Scott said Monday that he did not limit who could enter the meeting based on perceived political leanings.
“There was no politics,” Scott said. “I was concerned about the safety of the people.”
After returning to the lobby to find Scott handing out numbers, Beaty had him step outside. Beaty informed the crowd “the numbers do not mean anything” and that Scott is not a state employee, according to the affidavit. Scott told Beaty he used the number system to “create order so people don’t get trampled like last month,” the affidavit states.
Beaty informed Cummings that Scott was not a state employee, the affidavit states. Additionally, Beaty told Cummings that “instead of yelling and raising tensions, all Cummings had to do was report the number system to staff,” according to the document.
Moore, Scott and Cummings each agreed to leave the property. The affidavit states that Beaty obtained information from a woman who recorded video of the events. Beaty explained to Scott that he cannot limit who gets into an open meeting, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Beaty wrote that, before he reviewed security video, a woman named Shannon Barry stated she had been assaulted by a man fitting Moore’s description. Barry completed a witness statement.
Upon reviewing the video, Beaty said he could see Moore grab Barry as she tried to enter the hallway to the meeting room, according to the affidavit.
“Barry struggled to get free, but Moore pulled her back,” the affidavit states. “Smith became involved and Moore can be seen aggressively pushing Smith.”
The following day, June 23, Beaty saw a news report that showed video and audio of the event after the interaction of Moore and Smith, the affidavit states. The video shows Scott using his body and walker to block people from entering the hallway to the meeting and shows Cummings “taking an aggressive posture with Scott and yelling, ‘Don’t get in my way, don’t get in my way!'”
On Tuesday, Cummings called Scott “an absolute fucking liar” and said his actions contradicted his supposed values.
“Old Ranger, his big thing in life is that he was a ranger, right? So he swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States when he joined the Army, and he violated all that at that meeting. Shame on him for that shit,” Cummings said. “You’re gonna go around, and that’s the thing you’re known for in life and you’ve written books, and you used to be a school teacher and you come to that meeting and violate my First Amendment rights? Fucking shame on you.”