Monday, December 19, 2005

Unanimous: Christians Falsely Accused of Crimes

December 15, 2005

A federal jury unanimously decided today that two Harrisburg police officers illegally arrested Pastor Jim Grove of Heritage Baptist Church at a 2003 homosexual event in the city. He, along with three others, including RA's (Repent America) Michael Marcavage, were arrested and jailed for several hours on July 26, 2003 while ministering at the annual pride celebration.

The annual event features various activities throughout the day, which in the past included the sale of pornographic materials, public nudity, open lewdness, men dressed like women, and the use of obscene language over the public address system. Police refused to deal with the illegal behavior of the pride event attendees, but instead removed the Christians and falsely charged them with crimes.

Pastor Grove was acquitted of the criminal charges lodged against him the same year, and subsequently filed the civil rights lawsuit to hold police accountable for their illegal actions and to prevent such behavior in the future.

The jury unanimously found that Corporal Thomas C. Carter and Patrol Officer Stephanie Barrelet, a known lesbian, intentionally violated Pastor Grove's First Amendment rights.

Michael Marcavage testifed at Grove's trial, as well as during a related injunction hearing held before Judge William W. Caldwell. Caldwell will be ruling on the injunction that would prevent police from barring Christians from evangelizing outside one of the event's main entrances in the next couple of months.

For more information on this case, please contact:Len Brown, Esquire (or) Dennis E. Boyle, Esquire at (717) 299-7101

Hat tip: The Christian Underground

3 comments:

Christinewjc said...

Unfortunately...

Grove wins city suit
Pastor got $1 in Harrisburg suit for constitutional rights violation

By Mike Argento

Dec 18, 2005 — A federal jury has found in favor of the Rev. Jim Grove in his lawsuit against the city of Harrisburg that claimed the city violated his rights by trying to prevent him and others from preaching at a gay pride festival.

Grove, a controversial street preacher best known for his float protesting abortion in York's annual Halloween parade, sued the city after he and a number of other street preachers were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and defiant trespass after preaching and handing out anti-gay literature near the July 2003 festival.

He was acquitted of the charges and brought the suit alleging Harrisburg officials violated his right to free speech when it took measures to prevent him from protesting the festival.

The jury found that two of the defendants - two Harrisburg police officers - violated Grove's First Amendment rights and awarded Grove $1 in damages.

Grove had sought compensation for losing time from work defending himself against what his suit called "wrongful arrest."

"It was a clear violation," Grove, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Springfield Township, said. "I think the jury saw that."

As for the award of $1 in damages, Grove said he didn't think the jury understood the expenses involved in bringing a federal suit, saying his legal fees were about $4,000.

He said he doesn't think the minimal award would deter Harrisburg officials from violating his rights in the future.

"We'll probably have to go through this again next year," he said.

Boo said...

"The jury unanimously found that Corporal Thomas C. Carter and Patrol Officer Stephanie Barrelet, a known lesbian, intentionally violated Pastor Grove's First Amendment rights."

Well, that's better than her being an unknown lesbian, I guess.

"As for the award of $1 in damages, Grove said he didn't think the jury understood the expenses involved in bringing a federal suit, saying his legal fees were about $4,000."

Filing the suit was his choice.

Anna said...

Hi Christine!

Basically, they got a slap on the wrist. "No, no, that's naughty." If the tables were turned, the Christians would be lion food.
I'm glad they were acquitted, but the assessment is correct. It won't deter them for behaving in this manner in the future. There were essentially no consequences.

Blessings,
Anna