Longform

Mr. Snyder's Opus

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It may have been tempting for Snyder to simply be grateful for the judge's ruling and not look back. Except that in his mind — and for those who believe in him — justice still hasn't been completely served.

"To try and sweep this under the rug, that is also sending a bad message to the kids," Lamar-Dukes says. "For him to be put in this situation in the first place, where he faced the risk of losing his job and going to jail, somebody should be held responsible. The kids should learn that there is a process."

Part of that is Snyder's cooperation in the Internal Affairs investigation. And another part of it began in July, when Snyder's attorney, Lynn Overmann, filed a notice of claim with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

If the department's claims adjusters don't offer a handsome settlement — and they rarely do — Overmann will file suit on grounds of false arrest and battery. She says Snyder wants to recover the roughly $20,000 he spent in medical and legal fees, plus receive compensation for the emotional distress the incident caused him.

Otherwise, the experience is one Snyder wants to put in the past, so he can concern himself more with the future of his program.

As the Hallandale High band finally takes the field for September's Clash of the Titans, the incident seems far from Snyder's mind. He watches from beneath a goal post, pacing like a football coach, wearing that stern game face, and occasionally pointing and waving directions. "Move! Move!" Snyder yells to the flag girls, who are slow to leave the sidelines. He goes through a series of hand signals as inscrutable as those by a third-base coach, but they make sense to the kids on the field.

A band that seemed to struggle with its concentration during the indoor rehearsal appears to have come alive with motion in the space of the football field and with a crowd to please.

For all that intensity during the performance, its completion brings a rare smile to Snyder's face. "They did good for a group that has a lot of young kids."

Receiving their 20-ounce sodas and boxes of chicken wings, band members stay to watch Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M wage musical combat. Then at Snyder's signal, the Hallandale drums sound the beat, and like a victorious army regiment, the band marches in time back to the bus.

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Thomas Francis