by Steven Ertelt
April 9, 2008
Olathe, KS (LifeNews.com) — For the third time this year, local officials are battling the drivers of trucks bearing graphic images of abortion and threatening them with arrest. In the latest case in Kansas, Ronald Brock was threatened with arrest and impoundment of his vehicle.
According to the pro-life group Operation Rescue, Olathe Police Sgt. David Haldeman told Brock he must leave the city or "live with the results."
Officials said Brock would be charged with "promoting obscenity" if he remained in Olathe, for images displayed on his vehicle that depicted aborted babies and others comparing abortion to genocide during World War II.
Brock had spent the previous day in Olathe parked outside the Johnson County Courthouse and OR told LifeNews.com he was observed by dozens of police officers without incident.
Even though Brock believes Olathe police would be violating his First Amendment free speech rights, he immediately left Olathe to avoid an illegal arrest and vehicle impoundment.
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, complained about the incident in comments to LifeNews.com.
"We cannot allow this egregious violation of Ron’s rights to go without comment," he said.
"If they can run him out of town because one officer does not like his message, then no one’s free speech rights are safe. We demand an apology for this outrageous conduct," Newman added.
Brock was in Olathe at Newman’s request to draw public attention to a Planned Parenthood abortion center there that has been charged by Johnson County Attorney Phill Kline with 107 criminal charges, 23 of which are felonies.
The abortion business has been accused of violating state abortion laws and falsifying medical records.
In January, attorney for the city of Fargo, North Dakota, asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by an Oregon man who filed a lawsuit to remove a $60 traffic ticket he received in 2004 when he drove his truck there. Robert Rudnick, from Bend, says the city relied on a vague law to issue the ticket.
At the time, Rudnick was charged with violating an ordinance against obstructed windows on a vehicle for safety purposes when he drove his truck, sporting graphic abortion pictures, around town.
A similar truck made the news in Georgia in January and Gwinnett County Police Department officials have dropped the charges originally filed against a pro-life advocate.
Bob Roethlisberger, a Missouri man, was arrested for driving a truck with graphic abortion pictures around a suburban shopping mall after Thanksgiving.
Roethlisberger was originally arrested and jailed on the charge of "disorderly conduct" for driving the vehicle.