Daviess County school board candidate Sharon Castle was arrested last month in an incident where she confronted a Black man outside an apartment complex.
The June 22 incident prompted the man and a resident at the complex to call police, and the man told officers Castle, who is white, made racist comments toward him during the encounter. Castle was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct, for continuing the confrontation and not following officer commands after officers arrive, Castle’s arrest citation says.
Castle, 78, said in an interview Monday that she owns the apartment complex where the incident occurred, and that she often questions people she doesn’t recognize there because of concerns she has about drug activity. Castle denied making racist comments.
When asked if she was racist, Castle said, “no, I don’t feel like it. I feel like I would have asked anyone that question. I feel like I was the one discriminated against. A Black person called (police) on a white person, and I went to jail.”
Castle’s arrest citation says officers were called to 3101 Burlew Boulevard, which is Willow Creek Apartments, at 2:30 p.m. June 22. The citation says a caller told dispatchers she “needs the police,” and a second caller said a woman named Sharon was “following him making racist statements toward him.”
When officer Luke Hardy arrived, the citation says Castle approached him and said loudly, “I have a problem. We have a lot of drug activity here and this guy won’t tell me who he is or who he is visiting.”
Hardy told Castle to lower her voice and that the man has the right to not tell her those things, and Castle said, “yes he does, I am the owner,” the citation says.
The citation says Castle then started walking toward the man yelling at him to identify himself. Hardy then arrested Castle on second-degree disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, because “it was clear … (Castle) had no intention to follow (my) reasonable and lawful request” and because she was “causing alarm with tenants who were outside watching the scene unfold,” Hardy wrote in the citation.
Castle said she was at the apartment complex that afternoon and saw two people she didn’t recognize sitting in a car.
“When I see a strange car, I go up and say, ‘can I help you?’ and ‘who are you here to see?’ ” Castle said. In the June 22 incident, “this Black man said, ‘I don’t have to tell you.’
“He got out of the car and went around the building saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and I said, ‘the only thing that matters right now is who you are here to see.’ ”
Castle said she was told by Hardy that the man didn’t have to answer her questions. Castle said she learned at some point the man was there to visit a tenant, but alleged that the tenant used drugs, and said she is concerned about drug activity on the property.
Castle said she also approached the vehicle because someone living at the complex had tested positive for COVID-19, and she planned to warn them not to visit that person.
Castle said she felt OPD officer Hardy had something against her that led to her being arrested. Castle said she had her wrist examined later because the handcuffs hurt her wrist, and said she was forced to sit in the back of the hot patrol car for several minutes while the officer talked to witnesses.
Castle was booked briefly at the Daviess County Detention Center and released a few hours later.
“I have a little more rights than I had there,” Castle said of the incident, adding that Hardy told her, “ ‘nobody likes you ... I think he was talking about the police department.”
Castle said she filed a complaint with OPD’s professional standard unit over the arrest. Officer Andrew Boggess, OPD’s public information officer, said Castle’s complaint is still open, so department officials couldn’t comment.
Of the incident overall, Castle said: “All I did, and I would have asked anybody, (is) ‘who are you seeing here?’ ” Castle said. Later, Castle said, “This is my property, this is what I own. I’m trying to keep it clean of drugs.”
Castle said later she did not actually know if the tenant the man was going to visit used drugs, and that she has not talked to the tenant about the incident.
“She’s leaving,” Castle said of the tenant. “I think it’s a sore subject, because she called the police.”
Castle denied making racist remarks to the man and said she asks people of different races why they are at the apartment complex.
“I don’t care if they’re purple,” Castle said, and that “sometimes, it’s being helpful.”
Castle said the man objected to her being arrested.
“I (would) like to talk to that Black man again and see why he thought there was any racial remarks,” Castle said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse