Atlantic City Mayor to Face Child Endangerment Charges Next Month

Posted on: April 29, 2024, 01:12h. 

Last updated on: April 29, 2024, 01:12h.

Atlantic City’s first couple, Mayor Marty Small Sr. and his wife Dr. La’Quetta Small, the superintendent of Atlantic City Public Schools, will go before a judge next month to face child endangerment charges and other allegations made in an affidavit filed by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small casino
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. discusses a police raid of his home on April 1, 2024, with his teenage daughter Jada looking on. Small has since been charged with child endangerment, terroristic threats, and aggravated assault. (Image: AP)

Earlier this month, the Smalls were accused by county law enforcement of endangering the welfare of their teenage daughter, Jada Smalls. The adolescent reportedly told school staff that she was being mentally and physically abused at home by her parents.

For not immediately reporting the case to police, Atlantic City High School Principal Constance Days-Chapman has been charged with official misconduct, hindering apprehension, obstruction of justice, and failing to report child abuse. The Smalls are due in court at 10 a.m. local time on May 15 for a preliminary hearing.

The Smalls home was raided by law enforcement in late March. The mayor said the search and seizure was related to a “family issue.” Jada Smalls stood next to her father at the press conference where he downplayed the charges and insisted that it’s a “private family matter” and “not a crime.”

Small is the top local government official in the town where New Jersey’s nine casinos operate. However, Atlantic City’s governance and critical decision-making powers have rested in the state’s hands since its 2016 takeover.  

iPad Evidence

Small and his wife were each charged with second-degree child endangerment. The mayor was additionally charged with making third-degree terroristic threats, third-degree aggravated assault, and disorderly persons simple assault. Mrs. Small faces three counts of disorderly persons simple assault.

In the affidavit, law enforcement alleges the Smalls routinely abused their 15/16-year-old daughter emotionally and physically. The affidavit included evidence obtained from the boyfriend of the teen girl, who recorded his Facetime and audio conversations with her while she endured confrontations with her parents.

The confrontations between the teenager and Smalls appear to stem from her classroom performance, as well as her relationship with her boyfriend.

“I’m scared,” the girl is heard in one audio recording from Jan. 3.

Don’t make me hurt you,” the mayor can be heard allegedly saying in the background. “You’re going to harm yourself if you get in my space again! I’ll smack the weave out of your head.”

The mayor allegedly can later be heard telling his wife that he’s going to “earth slam her down the steps.”

The affidavit presents evidence that the teen was rendered unconscious after her father hit her on the head with a broomstick. The Smalls took the daughter to the hospital where the girl told medical staff that she hit her head on a window while playing with her brother. Hospital reports in the affidavit show medical staff confirmed a head injury and loss of consciousness.

Resignation Calls

Small has dismissed calls for his resignation in the aftermath of the affidavit being made public.

Mayor Marty Small remains the mayor in the city of Atlantic City and will continue to faithfully perform all of his duties as mayor,” Ed Jacobs, Small’s attorney, said in a statement. “He and his wife La’Quetta and their two children remain a close, loving, and intact family.”

Jacobs says the Smalls are “completely innocent” and will “ultimately be vindicated.” The couple remains free, as the charges were brought via summonses and therefore no bail was set.