After more than nine hours of jury deliberations, a Seminole County judge this evening declared a mistrial
in the case of a Sanford mother arrested for climbing aboard her daughter's school bus and refusing to get off because the driver wouldn't listen to her complaints about bullying.
Laura Booker, 40, is charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. She faces a possible sentence of one year in the Seminole County Jail.
Booker insists she did nothing wrong. She left the courtroom with a worried look on her face.
"It's not over," she said.
But a few minutes later, walking down the hallway, she was defiant. She had a right to be on that bus that day, she said, and is grateful that jurors realized bullying is a problem.
A video made by a bus security camera shows what happened that day, April 7, at Sanford Middle School.
Booker calmly begins talking to the driver, Roy Hooks, after all the students have exited.
He angrily cuts her off.
"Get off the bus now," he says. "Your daughter is a big liar."
Booker told jurors Wednesday that she had complained for months that her daughter, an eighth grader at Sanford Middle School, was being bullied on the bus. She blamed the driver for allowing it to happen and for picking on her child.
The video shows that during the 15-minute confrontation, several people – the driver, a school official and several Sanford police officers – repeatedly asked Booker to get off the bus.
They ordered her off at least 25 times, said Assistant State Attorney Lisa Haba.
Booker finally stepped down after one officer pushed her from behind and another threatened to shoot her with a Taser.
Five officers then took her to the ground and handcuffed her.