by Steven Ertelt
May 4, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against a Washington-area Planned Parenthood and a security guard at the abortion business. The suit has been filed for a pro-life college student who says he was tackled to the ground and injured when protesting abortion outside the facility last year.
Daniel Heenan, who attends Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, had participated in a prayer vigil and sidewalk counseling outside the Washington Planned Parenthood for three years. The suit contends he was injured when a security guard knocked him to the ground.
The incident occurred after Heenan approached the abortion facility and crossed a picket line painted on the ground that limited the protests of a group of pro-life advocates involved in an unrelated lawsuit.
The line did not apply to Heenan, but he contends the Planned Parenthood guard forcefully shoved him to the ground after tackling him.
Heenan said he did nothing to provoke the attack and gave no indication that he was planning to enter the abortion facility or harass the security guard.
According to the lawsuit, several officers of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department refused Heenan’s request to press charges against the security guard. There was no police report filed about the attack.
"It is simply unacceptable for citizens of the United States, who are on public property, to be tackled or knocked to the ground by security guards," said Jim Henderson, a senior ACLJ legal counsel.
"In this case, a college-aged Catholic sidewalk counselor was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground on a public sidewalk for no other reason than seeking to offer his message of hope and help to women approaching the Planned Parenthood facility," Henderson explained.
The ACLJ filed suit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
The suit names as defendants Harry James, the security guard, and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Inc. The suit contends that James and his employer, Planned Parenthood, committed battery against Heenan which resulted in both physical and emotional injury to him.
The suit asks the court to order the defendants to pay compensatory and punitive damages in the case. The suit also requests that the court protect the constitutional rights of Heenan and grant injunctive relief barring the defendants from having any physical contact with Heenan in the future. The lawsuit requests a trial by jury.