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Police seek to charge man in Arlington school confrontation

Police are seeking to charge an Arlington parent with threatening the principal of a town elementary school during an argument on school property, when the man allegedly displayed his gun permit and said he had access to firearms.

Arlington police on Tuesday filed an application for a criminal complaint against Robert Goodwin, 40, in Cambridge District Court, charging him with a misdemeanor count of making verbal threats to commit an assault, police said in a statement.

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A probable cause hearing is scheduled for next week. A clerk magistrate will decide if there is enough evidence to bring the charge.

“The Arlington Police Department takes very seriously any threats made on school grounds or against school officials,” Chief Frederick Ryan said in a statement. “In this day and age, we cannot ignore any threat.”

Goodwin could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, and it was not known if he had hired a lawyer.

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Arlington police have said that Goodwin argued last Wednesday with Michael Hanna, the principal of Stratton Elementary School, where Goodwin’s son is enrolled. The confrontation was sparked by concerns that were raised about a series of drawings the boy had done, according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity. That official was not authorized to speak about the details of the argument.

Goodwin allegedly showed Hanna his gun permit and made references to owning firearms, authorities have said.

Arlington police learned of the incident on Thursday and suspended Goodwin’s firearms license the following day. He also had to hand over his rifle to police and was barred from the Stratton Elementary campus.

On Tuesday, police said Goodwin’s license remains suspended and a no-trespass order for the school is still active.

Goodwin, a musician who operates a blog called contextflexed, said in a statement on the website that Arlington police suspended his permit and decided to “confiscate my legally owned hunting rifle as a proactive precaution because of my sacred First Amendment content; my original music and views.”

One music video on the website, which was publicly accessible last week but blocked on Tuesday, shows Goodwin rapping and brandishing knives.

He said police showed him data from the state Fusion Center, a law enforcement collaborative that monitors potential public safety threats, about a prior incident that he had on the MBTA, when he refused to submit to an “unlawful search” at the Alewife station in Cambridge.

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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