Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. criticizes raid, defends principal accused of crime

ATLANTIC CITY – The city’s mayor said a police raid at his home was an inappropriate response to a “family matter,” but also indicated a potential link to a criminal case involving a city educator and close friend.

At a news conference Monday, Mayor Marty Small Sr. defended Constance “Mandy” Days-Chapman, the principal of Atlantic City High School and his former campaign manager.

She was charged with official misconduct and other offenses on March 28, the same day as the raid at the home of the mayor and his wife, School Superintendent La’Quetta Small.

Days-Chapman allegedly failed to tell authorities that a student had claimed physical and mental abuse at home, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

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The principal instead told the students’ parents about the abuse claim.

Small declined to say if his daughter, who attends Atlantic City High, was the student who’d alleged abuse.

But he described Days-Chapman as “a dear personal friend who is often with our family,” and repeatedly noted the difficulties of raising a teenager.

Mayor Marty Small acknowledges investigation

“We support you, Mandy,” the mayor said of Days-Chapman, who is also chair of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee. “You did absolutely nothing wrong.”

An investigation involving the mayor and his wife has been ongoing for three or four months, said Edwin Jacobs, the mayor’s attorney.

“This entire investigation arose from nothing more than a personal and emotional family matter within the Small household,” said Jacobs.

The attorney said he did not know the focus of the probe, but asserted it had nothing to do with Small's job.

“There have been no thefts, no extortions, no payoffs, no acts of dishonesty, such as may have unfortunately tainted some prior administrations here in Atlantic City and elsewhere,” Jacobs said.

The Smalls’ daughter and their son, an 8th grade student, stood impassively by their parents’ side at the news conference, including while the mayor angrily repeated and rejected graphic rumors about his daughter.

Small noted he holds a master’s degree and his wife has a doctorate.

But he said, “there’s no book and no course that we took in college to show you how to be a parent, and more importantly how to deal with the struggles of raising teenagers.”

Atlantic City mayor criticizes search

He said the search party, which closed the street outside the Smalls’ home, consisted of 20 law enforcement officers with “guns, rifles, battering rams and more.”

“We did not deserve that,” the mayor said.

Small said investigators seized two cellphones and several laptops during the search.

A criminal complaint says state law and Atlantic City school district policy required Days/Chapman to report abuse allegations to “the appropriate child welfare authorities and/or law enforcement authorities.”

It alleges she went to the student’s parents to help hinder their detection and investigation for child abuse. Days-Chapman is also charged with obstruction of justice and failure to report child abuse.

The charges are only allegations. Days-Chapman has not been convicted in the case.

According to the prosecutor’s office, a student on Jan. 22 told an Atlantic City High employee that they’d been abused by the student’s parents, and that the minor had previously disclosed the abuse to Days-Chapman.

In a conversation with the staffer later that day, Days-Chapman denied that the youngster had previously told her about the abuse, the prosecutor’s office alleged.

It said Days-Chapman also told the staffer she would report the abuse claims to the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

"Both the staffer and another eyewitness to the conversation believed that Days-Chapman was going to notify the authorities as they were leaving her office,” the statement said.

“The other eyewitness even told Days-Chapman that she (the eyewitness) would notify DCP&P, but that Days-Chapman insisted that she would make the notification,” it continued.

Days-Chapman met with the juvenile’s parents "that night and told them of the youth’s abuse claims,” the statement added.

DCP&P said it was not told of the youth’s allegations by Days-Chapman or any other school employee, according to the prosecutor’s office.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said officers “involved in the search conducted themselves in the highest professional manner.”

It said the officers followed “standards operating procedures and protocols” and treated the mayor and superintendent “with dignity and respect.”

It also asserted detectives “took great effort to ensure that any juveniles living at the residence were clear of the residence … during the execution of the search warrant.

Jim Walsh is a senior reporter with the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. Email: Jwalsh@cpsj.com.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr.

This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Atlantic City mayor’s home raided, school principal charged

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