Weare school board member Rochelle Kelley arrested after traffic stop

  • Weare School Board member Rochelle Kelley was arrested July 25 and charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest. She goes to trial Wednesday for a disorderly conduct case in connection with a 2020 arrest at a Concord playground. Weare Police Department—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 8/9/2021 6:10:13 PM

A Weare School Board member was arrested and charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest last month, following a traffic stop and altercation with officers.

Rochelle Kelley, 33, was the passenger in a car driven by her husband, Samuel Kelley, on July 25 when Weare Police stopped them for having an expired inspection sticker and state registration, according to Weare Police Chief Christopher Moore. Samuel Kelley was issued two citations for expired inspection and registration and the car was ultimately towed.

Police accuse Rochelle Kelley of preventing the police officers from conducting an inventory of the items in the car before it was towed, and did not cooperate when she was told she was being placed under arrest. 

In video footage taken by Samuel Kelley and later posted to the internet, Rochelle Kelley uttered a string of profanities, including a homophobic slur, directed at two police officers and hollered in pain as she screamed at them to loosen the handcuffs around her wrists as they place her under arrest.

“During the inventory search of the vehicle, Mrs. Rochelle Kelley, who had been a passenger in the vehicle, engaged in conduct which resulted in her being placed under arrest,” Moore wrote via email Monday. 

Moore said the Kelleys’ car was stopped because a police sargent had recognized the car from a previous incident four days earlier, when police issued the School Board member a citation for “failing to obey inspection requirements” on July 21 and gave a warning about the expired registration.

Rochelle Kelley has been an outspoken voice on the Weare School Board this year, advocating for masks to be optional in schools. 

Kelley is scheduled to be arraigned for the July arrest via telephone at Goffstown District Court on Aug. 26. 

Before that, Kelley is scheduled to appear in Concord District Court for a trial Wednesday in connection with a 2020 arrest, where she was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct after police said she defied orders to leave the playground at Rollins Park in Concord, which was closed at the time due to precautions over COVID-19. In that incident, Kelley and two other adults argued it was their constitutional right to use the public playground despite the government-declared state of emergency. 

Chief Moore said Weare Police officers rarely encounter residents who resist arrest. 

“Very infrequently, I would say less than five times a year,” Moore said. This is the fourth arrest for resisting arrest in Weare so far this year. 

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

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