Police action an egregious abuse of power
Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-841-1700; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue
ATLANTA, Nov. 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- Bob Roethlisberger was arrested and jailed over Thanksgiving weekend in a northern suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, on the charge of "Disorderly Conduct" for driving Operation Rescue's Truth Truck bearing signs with photos of aborted babies. The Truth Truck was impounded.
Photo: Operation Rescue's Truth Truck
Gwinnett County Police Department officers arrested Roethlisberger Saturday after telling him that signage on the Truth Truck was "vulgar and obscene." Officers ransacked the back of the Truth Truck without a warrant and ordered Roethlisberger to change or remove the signs. When he refused, he was arrested and incarcerated for three days before being released on $1,000 bond.
The Truth Truck was released from impound late Monday, however the both the signs and the mounting hardware on the truck were damaged when police forcibly ripped the signs off the sides of the truck. Monetary damage to the property is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.
"It is obvious that these police officers, under the direction of Major Thomas Bardugon, engaged in a serious incident of unconstitutional content-based discrimination and illegal destruction of property," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "Bob fully cooperated with officers, but refused to compromise on his message, which is unequivocally protected by the First Amendment. The officers misused their authority to punish Bob for expressing a viewpoint that ran counter to theirs. The arrest was nothing less than an egregious abuse of power."
Newman discussed the matter with Major Bardugon who refused to drop the charges and threatened to arrest Newman if he drove the Truth Truck through Bardugon's jurisdiction.
The Truth Truck was in Georgia because a recently introduced Human Life Amendment that is scheduled to be considered by the State Legislature in January. The Truth Truck's mission was to help draw the attention of Georgians to the reality that abortion brutally takes an innocent human life, and emphasize the need to ban the grisly procedure.
Operation Rescue manages a fleet of Truth Trucks that have traveled tens of thousands of miles from coast to coast over the past seven years. The right to display those images has been upheld in courts across the nation, which have also ruled that obscenity laws do not apply to aborted baby images.
"We intend to vigorously fight these unjust charges and will seek a remedy for our property loss," said Newman. "We cannot allow the illegal use of police authority to bully us into silence, when such silence could cost innocent human lives."
Please contact the Gwinnett County Police Chief and ask for:
- The immediate dismissal of charges against Roethlisberger
- The immediate reimbursement for damages to the Truth Truck
- An apology
Chief of Police Charles M. Walters
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become the voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.