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iPad captured audio of Smalls abusing daughter, affidavit claims

  • Crime Courts

"I just didn't feel safe," the teenage daughter of Atlantic City's first couple told her therapist in January.

Just hours earlier on Jan. 22, she disclosed at school that she was being mentally and physically abused by her parents, according to court filings.

Mayor Marty Small and his wife, Schools Superintendent LaQuetta Small, were charged Monday with endangering the welfare of a child, along with separate charges related to allegations of beatings and threats.

A raid at the Smalls' home late last month was to obtain a cell phone, the mayor said during a news conference days after the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office served the warrants.

But it's text messages and audio recordings on an iPad belonging to the girl's boyfriend that seems to contain some of the most damning evidence in the case, according to the seven-page affidavit of probable cause obtained by BreakingAC.

Audio of arguments that turned physical between the girl and her parents on separate occasions were captured as the two teenagers were talking. 

Transcripts of those recordings, along with interviews detailed in the court filing paint the picture of a teenage girl in turmoil who doesn't feel safe at home and is constantly told how she is a disappointment to her parents.

"I've been mentally emotionally verbally and physically abused and it's a lot," she wrote to a friend on Instagram. "I'm overwhelmed and I keep crying every night."

She tells the friend she is not going home, and not to tell her parents if they ask.

"Do you not know who (your) father is?" the friend responds.

"(I don't give a f---) if he was the president," the mayor's daughter responds. "Shit don't phase me."

The trouble apparently started Dec. 7, with what the girl describes "a minor situation ... got escalated to where they put hands on me."

Her father allegedly punched her in the legs while her mother had a knee on the girl's chest.

Until that point, her boyfriend told investigators that he had a good relationship with the mayor and superintendent. The mayor even got the teen a job.

But things apparently went down hill quickly. The job was taken back, the teen said in a livestream April 2, the day after the mayor's press conference about the raid.

"Got me fired from my job," the 17-year-old boy says. "Now I can't even get a job in the city, cuz." 

The Smalls' daughter started having issues at school as well, according to the affidavit.

She told a friend she got suspended "for defending myself (because) this girl came up to me popping shit."

"They are blaming (redacted) for it and it's not his fault," she adds, using her boyfriend's nickname.

The girl also admits sneaking her boyfriend into the house, and getting caught because her mother looked through her phone while she was sleeping.

"They told me to stop talking to him and I didn't want to because he is literally my safe person," she writes to a friend on Instagram. "I feel safe and comfortable and happy with him."

He even ordered food the house when she had nothing to eat. But her mother threw it in the street, she said. 

Her parents took her phone, but she remained in contact with the boyfriend through a device the Smalls did not know about, the boy told investigators.

She even sent the boy a photo of the broom her father allegedly used to knock her unconscious. 

Days later, she was taken to the hospital, but claimed she suffered the injury when she hit her head on a window while playing with her brother. The mayor, who brought the girl to the hospital in a black SUV, confirmed that version of events.

Hospital records obtained by investigators confirmed a head injury and loss of consciousness.

The boyfriend gained attention on social media earlier this year when he posted about “(H)ow could (you) abuse (your) daughter and (you’re) mayor and superintendent. (The) good family?"

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The girl and her boyfriend mostly used video chats like Facetime or Instagram, which is how investigators obtained audio of some of the alleged assaults.

"I'm scared," the girl whispers to her boyfriend over video during a Jan. 3 incident with her father.

"Don't make me hurt you," Small allegedly says, using the girl's name.

"Hurt me, that's all you do," she responds.

Later, the mayor tells the girl to sit down.

"Stop pushing me!" the girl says, according to the transcript.

"I'm telling you, you're going to do harm to yourself if you get in my space again," her father replies.

"You always harm me anyway," she says. "Hurt me."

It appears from the transcript that the mayor is trying to stop her from leaving for school.

"OK, tell them," he's quoted as saying. "I don't care. What they gonna do to me? What they gonna do to me?"

"Can you please move so I can go to school?" she responds. "Stop pushing me! You keep pushing me. Stop!"

"Sit down," the mayor allegedly says. "I'll smack that weave out ya head."

"Please stop pushing me in my chest," she says.

"I don't care where I put you at ... I'm going to earth slam her down the steps!" Small allegedly says. "Come past his line and I'm gonna grab you by the head and throw you on the ground. 

"Nothing is gonna happen to me!" he allegedly adds.

Another video clip from Jan. 7, allegedly captures part of an incident between the girl and her mother.

The girl tells her mother to get off of her, it states.

"You still talking little girl!" Dr. Small allegedly says.

"Get off me," the girl says. "You hit me."

Dr. Small's mother, Sharnice Frazier, then allegedly chimes in: "A little punch in the eye ain't gonna stop her."

"You punched me in the mouth," the girl says. "Get off of me!"

"Who you telling to get off of you girl?" her mother responds. "You don't run me. You don't run me. And I'm gonna touch you whenever I wanna touch you."

The teen disclosed the alleged abuse Jan. 22, after mental health training for students at the high school. She also said she had talked to Principal Constance Days-Chapman "about some choices."

But Days-Chapman claimed she had not heard about the issues, and then said she would report the allegations to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. 

That report never came, DCPP said, according to the affidavit.

Days-Chapman was charged with official misconduct and other charges as a result. Donald Harris is currently serving as interim principal in her place.

The affidavit does not detail what was taken from the Smalls' home during the raid. But it does quote the beginning of a letter the girl wrote to her parents that was found in LaQuetta Small's bedroom closet.

It was dated Dec. 21, 2023.

"Honestly, I'm going for peace," the girl writes. "I keep disappointing you all, I'm just going to go. Must hate me for not being perfect. Getting called dumb, crazy, mental and sick hurts but that okay. I guess I'm the biggest disappointment for defending myself."


author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, June 16, 2024
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