Tempe, AZ – When police attempted to shut down an anti-abortion rally, one activist called them out for abusing their authority and usurping the law they are sworn to protect. “Pastor Jeff,” was featured in a video of the encounter, which was posted online.
For years, anti-abortion activists have taken to streets and sidewalks in protest, and more often than not, their battle is with the officers who try to silence them, as police often side with people who complain about the activists’ presence and free speech.
It is important to note that no matter how you feel about abortion, it is anyone’s right to take to a public space and peacefully voice their opinion either for or against it.
According to Apologia Studios, the page that uploaded the video, the officers involved showed no interest in the legality of their actions, and they intentionally targeted a veteran activist—even confiscating his property. In a response to a comment on their Facebook page, they wrote:
What you are not aware of (and you prejudged) is that this officer revoked the right to speak for a veteran in abortion ministry that has been out for many years and has saved countless children. He literally isn’t even able to speak right now at the mill (with or without amplification). They confiscated his property and have effectively silenced him.
Pastor Jeff says he’s a preacher at Apologia Church. He and his fellow activists were stationed on Baseline Avenue in Tempe, outside an abortion clinic. They were peacefully attempting to convince women seeking abortions to choose life instead of killing their babies. Along with the usual posters of fetuses, pro-life messages, and t-shirts, Pastor Jeff’s team also employed a loudspeaker.
An officer approached Pastor Jeff, asked for his ID and told him that he had received a noise complaint. Jeff was ready. He produced a copy of a Town of Tempe ordinance, which stated the officer could not arrest him without first testing their loudspeaker with a decimal meter. Not knowing the law, or previous Supreme Court decisions, the frustrated officer called in his female supervisor, a sergeant, who also demanded to see Jeff’s ID.
Jeff explained to the responding officer that the officers needed to have a calibrated decimal meter and that he did not have to produce his ID unless he had been cited with a crime.
The sergeant seemed to know who each and every one of the activists were. That is apparently due to the fact that Tempe police recently arrested one of them—unlawfully, according to Pastor Jeff—because he failed to exercise his rights under the law. Now, that activist has a “court case” against him for “disturbing the peace.”
Jeff threatened to sue the sergeant, Tempe police, and the Town of Tempe, Arizona, if they failed to protect his civil rights and his Constitutional rights to express his free speech.
“Ma’am I reject your warning,” Jeff said. “You need to repent of your lawless conduct!”
Not backing down, Pastor Jeff promised to get right back on his loudspeaker, under the threat of arrest, and continue to “save lives” of the unborn as well as minister to expectant mothers as they choose life instead of death for their unborn babies.
Not only did Jeff know the law better than Tempe police, but he exposed them for their own lack of knowledge of the law. Additionally, he uncovered their unwillingness to be educated in the very law they were sworn to protect and uphold. As a result, Jeff concluded they were mere “thugs” who were attempting to “harass” and “intimidate” the activists into getting off the streets and ceasing their ministry.
The lesson he taught all activists can be summarized in a few important points:
1. Know the law.
2. Have a printout of the statutes and ordinances.
3. Do not give in to pressure to identify oneself simply because a badge-wearing bully demands your 100 percent compliance.
4. Fight fear with facts. It may be scary at first to be threatened with arrest but use that fear to quote the law, as well as the disposition of the officers.
5. After demonstrating a respect for the rule of law, threaten to sue any law enforcement officer and agency with a lawsuit should they choose to infringe upon one’s rights.
At no time did Jeff offer his last name. He was not moved from his public sidewalk, he was not placed in handcuffs, and was not arrested—at least not on the day of the recording.
Regardless of how one feels about abortion, all free thinkers should agree the anti-abortion group (as well as other groups whose message may be offensive to some) has the right to free speech and that right should be protected by police, not met with promises of arrest. It is shameful that any law enforcement agency engages in such unconstitutional behavior, but unfortunately, it seems to be the norm, rather than the exception.
Pastor Shuts Down Unlawful Police Officer! Officer L. Lenzen from Tempe Police Department refused to read the law Pastor Jeff was being accused of breaking. Instead of obeying an unlawful order Jeff stood his ground and fought back (using the law), forcing the police department to leave the scene. Here's the high quality audio and video of the abusive police officers trying to shut down our amplification. Please SHARE this video far and wide and let the Tempe Police Department know you will not allow this unconstituional behavior from their officers. Here's the YouTube version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT_RRqgf7m4
Posted by Apologia Studios on Wednesday, December 13, 2017