ADF-allied attorneys file suit to defend officer who wouldn't
violate First Amendment rights of Christians at Kutztown University
Thursday, March 12, 2009, 8:30 AM (MST)
Chaplain John McTernan is a former federal agent and
co-founder of the Christian police group International Cops for Christ. He
told WND, "Since 1999 or 2000, York police's conduct has been outrageous
toward pro-life advocates at the Planned Parenthood abortion center."
McTernan cites incidents of abuse and complacency on the part of city
police officers who are compensated by Planned Parenthood to work overtime
shifts standing outside of the clinic. Uniformed officers are said to be
paid $37.50 per hour, and they sign up for shifts on a volunteer basis.
"They watched one woman get beaten. She had to be put in the hospital,"
McTernan said. "High speed cars have attempted to run us over. We have
videos of most of it. They won't do anything."
In one incident, McTernan said an 18-wheeler tried to run over John
Holman, one of his fellow pro-life advocates. Holman jumped out of the way
to avoid the truck and was arrested for criminal trespass after he landed
on a strip of property the clinic claims to own, according to McTernan.
They submitted a video of the incident to authorities, and the charges
were later dropped.
"They needed criminal cases to prove we were dangerous there," he told WND.
"They had a civil suit against us and were trying to get an injunction for
a bubble zone. They lost that. That went on for about two years. Then,
there's an alley right next to the abortion clinic where we can get close
to the people going in, and we can get close to the workers. They were
trying to get convictions on us so they could get a court order keeping us
off that alley. That was their objective."
McTernan said even with his background as a federal agent, he is shocked
at how York police have treated pro-life advocates.
"The behavior of the York city police and the DA office is frightening,"
McTernan told WND. "In all of my travels, and talking to police as a
chaplain, I have never seen such disrespect for the law and such
patronizing. They're pursuing criminal prosecution on someone they know is
innocent – in [Ferguson's] case, because her beliefs are pro-life."
Officers in the police department declined to respond to WND's multiple
requests for comment.
It was just another in a series of incidents in which governmental
authorities appear to be trying to limit Christians' speech rights, based
on the content of their statements.
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