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Dismiss Charges Against Timothy Getz

This petition had 40,117 supporters

There comes a point in each of our lives when we are called to stand for something. Stand for our beliefs. Stand for our family. Stand for our friends. Stand for our rights. Whatever that defining moment in your life is, our character and morality is shaped by its existence and how we handle ourselves within that moment.

On the night of September 4, 2019, one of our community members and friends found himself in the thick of that moment, alongside his family members, as they fought to save their life’s work, their heritage, but more importantly a herd that has become like family to them. With his brother and father in the barn working to free animals, this young man was attempting to assist in the rescue. Working to save something they love from the tragedy of fire, they did what any parent, loved one, or compassionate person would do. They went into a structure to release their animals from the confines of a burning barn.

While in focused determination, that effort was interrupted by an officer. The officer’s intentions at this point may have been pure, but his focus was clearly different than that of the family trying to save their herd. A moment in the life of a family that was already tragic became far worse through the actions of an officer interfering with the efforts of a farm family trying to save their herd from certain death within a burning building. As the situation escalated, the course of action could have proceeded in several ways: (1) Assist the family in freeing the herd before the barn was engulfed in flames; (2) Have the officer vacate the building and allow the farmers to work diligently before the fire moved farther through the barn or (3) Arrest the farmer for resisting an attempted forceful removal from the building by someone he later found out was a police officer. Sadly, the path chosen was the latter.

It may be difficult for those without an agricultural experience to understand the depth of connection between a farmer and his livestock. So imagine for a moment that you find yourself standing on the threshold of your home faced with the decision of running into a burning building to save your child or standing in the front yard while you listen to them scream for your help, scared and alone. Do you risk your own life to save the life of someone you love? For me, this isn’t even a question. It’s a natural response to save and care for those we love. This example is neither harsh nor far-fetched. It speaks to the heart of a farmer.

Could more of the herd have been saved without this interruption? We may never know. Certainly, the efforts would have continued and an agricultural family would be allowed the ability to work together through this tragic event without the additional legal ramifications of a hasty arrest.

Now it is our turn as a community to stand for something. To make known the intent and will of the people of this community. To stand strong in supporting our agricultural neighbors and friends.

We, the community, petition the judicial system, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the County of Lebanon courts to dismiss these charges and clear them from the record of Timothy Getz and allow him to freely work alongside his family as they work to recover from this tragedy and the unnecessary escalation of the situation.

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