CHICAGO (CN) – A chemistry professor claims his boss and a student defamed him and had him thrown in jail on bogus charges because he enforced his rule against cell phones in the lab. Kenneth Annan, a Ph.D. in chemistry, says he confiscated the student’s cell phone because cell phone batteries can explode in the presence of a Bunsen burner.
Annan sued his student, Courtney Jenkins, his supervisor, Jacquie Hood-Martin, and two unidentified security officers, in Federal Court.
Anna was working for City Colleges of Chicago as a part-time professor in July when the incident happened.
“Plaintiff has strict rules that cell phones are not to be used in class in particular because the laboratory in which classes are held has ‘Bunsen burners’ among other things that if in contact with a cell phone battery can cause a fire and or explosion,” according to the complaint. “On July 15, 2010 while teaching chemistry, defendant student Ms. Courtney Jenkins was endangering fellow students with her cell phone. She refused to holster the cell phone and to stop filming Dr. Annan with the phone. Plaintiff grabbed the cell phone from Ms. Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins in turn accused Dr. Annan plaintiff of battery for his taking the cell phone. Additionally, she told plaintiff that she would have him ‘fired.’ An official of the college, defendant Jacquie Hood-Martin was not present, as were a classroom full of students; however, on July 19, 2010, Ms. Hood-Martin ordered two City of Chicago security officers to take plaintiff from the class he was teaching and to imprison plaintiff. Ms. Hood-Martin summoned Chicago Police officers and stated to the officers that they were to ‘Lock the shit [sic] out of him’ (referring to plaintiff). The officers complied and took Dr. Annan from the college – handcuffing him and transporting him to the cellblock, having arrested him for battery. Reportedly, the watch commander and or others at the police district were dismayed as to how and why plaintiff was arrested and that the charge was ultimately dismissed; however, Dr. Annan was suspended and constructively terminated from his employment with the City of Chicago.”
Annan says Jenkins “was endangering fellow students and disrupting the lecture and laboratory by using her cell phone in the laboratory in reach of Bunsen burners.”
He adds: “She was filming plaintiff on her cell phone (and that defendant Jenkins had over many weeks, in many class sessions, arrived to class late and disrupted the classroom environment; and, she endangered the safety of her fellow students by her antics).”
Annan seeks compensatory and punitive damages for false imprisonment, civil rights violations, defamation, mental stress and violation of due process. He is represented by Christopher Cooper, of Merrillville, Ind.