Sometimes I wonder why otherwise bright, extremely well-educated, and politically influential people find it necessary to act-out in ways they must know will bring discredit to themselves, their family, their employer and their community.
People expect boorish behavior from uneducated louts like me – not highly esteemed university professors – or the First Lady of Daytona Beach.
I recently read a disturbing social media post regarding Dr. Stephanie Henry – the Acting Dean of Bethune-Cookman University’s College of Education and wife of Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry.
The post contained a copy of an official complaint affidavit completed by the Daytona Beach Police Department which detailed a June 2017 confrontation between Dr. Henry and the owner of the Beauty Bazaar, a small shop on North Nova Road.
Apparently, Dr. Henry entered the store, took some items off the shelf, then attempted to return an open and partially used beauty product. The return was refused by the owner – who directed Henry to the store’s posted policy.
During the ensuing argument, the report states that Dr. Henry repeatedly mentioned that she was “the mayor’s wife” – and then became threatening: “I’m the mayor’s wife. I’ll get you.”
Especially considering she is, in fact, Mayor Henry’s spouse.
According to the report, Dr. Henry made things worse when she walked out of the store with about $4.75 worth of merchandise that she failed to pay for. The ugly spat continued into the public parking lot.
Ultimately, Dr. Henry came back to the store, returned the items, and offered to pay for them.
Too late. The store owner wasn’t hearing it.
I guess open political threats tend to have that effect on people.
In turn, a sworn statement was obtained from witnesses, and a complaint affidavit charging Dr. Henry with one count of misdemeanor Petit Theft was, I assume, sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review.
That’s generally how these things go – and perhaps the criminal charges have already been dismissed – I don’t really know.
What bothers me – and I’m sure many of you – is the “Don’t you know who I am?” arrogance that Dr. Henry’s statements conjure in the minds of her husband’s constituents.
Apparently, Dr. Henry believes that her husband’s political status can solve problems – and her cringeworthy announcement clearly indicates that she believes her status is more important than ours.
Perhaps it is, but given the rumor and intrigue surrounding Mayor Henry’s assumed return to Volusia County School’s following since-dropped felony charges alleging voter fraud – and his subsequent fall from grace at Mainland High School – one would think everyone involved would be on their best behavior.
So, Dr. Henry takes the prize this week.
In my view, threats and intimidation of small business owners is just bad optics – especially for the wife of a high-profile politician with a history many are trying very hard to get beyond.
People can forgive what they see themselves doing – and this behavior is, well, over-the-top – even for an uneducated lout like me.
Word to the wise: Dr. Henry, you are in fact the Mayor’s wife – and an incredibly talented educator with a very bright future – everyone knows that. I’m just not sure your husband’s lofty position needs repeating for leverage during petty arguments with Daytona Beach shopkeepers.
(UPDATE: I have learned from a senior member of the judiciary that the misdemeanor charges against Dr. Henry were dismissed on June 23, 2017.)