Video shows angry attack followed by police violation of civil rights
Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-841-1700; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue, firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT MADISON, Iowa, Dec. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pro-lifers with graphic signs were attacked by a man wielding a club during a protest at a Hillary Clinton campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa, on Friday, yet responding police threatened to arrest the pro-lifers if they did not immediately leave the public sidewalk. The incident was captured on video.
Police were parked across the street from where Dan Holman of Missionaries to the Pre-Born was standing on a public sidewalk on December 7, when a man in a pickup truck got out of his vehicle and approached Holman with a club, shouting at him to get off his property. Holman was attacked and struck with the club.
"The man continued to try and assault me in the presence of three Fort Madison police officers," Holman told Operation Rescue. "Rather than arresting the attacker the police threatened to arrest me! The police acknowledged that I was on a public right of way but said our presence posed a traffic hazard."
Police told Holman that if he wanted charges pressed against the man with the club, he would have to go to the police station and fill out a report. Holman complied with the order to leave under threat of arrest, and later filed a complaint against his attacker, identified as Jim Mitchell. Holman is considering legal action against the Fort Madison Police.
Holman's group was protesting Clinton, a radical supporter of abortion, in advance of the Iowa Caucuses, which will be held on January 3, 2008. He has protested Clinton at 32 of her Iowa appearances.
"Police departments across the nation have shown a disturbing disregard for the First Amendment rights of abortion protesters in recent weeks," said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger. "We have a great deal of respect for the vast majority of police officers, who are decent people, trying to do a very difficult job. However, rogue officers who bully and falsely arrest peaceful protesters that are simply exercising a precious right in defense of innocent babies, are put on notice that they will be held legally accountable for their abusive behavior. We urge every police department to train their officers concerning First Amendment activity in order to bring an end to this kind of abuse."
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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.