by Steven Ertelt
April 10, 2008
Olathe, KS (LifeNews.com) — Officials in Olathe, Kansas have apologized to the driver of a truck with graphic abortion images saying a police officer was wrong to threaten him with arrest for driving the truck in town. Ronald Brock was threatened with arrest and impoundment of his vehicle.
This is the third case of a driver of a truck with abortion pictures facing problems from local officials.
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.
On Thursday, Olathe Chief of Police Janet Thiessen apologized to Brock and Haldeman has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the incident.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman told LifeNews.com Chief Thiessen told him she had apologized to Brock and that members of the police force would receive additional training so similar incidents wouldn’t occur in the future.
"I have personally expressed my regret to Mr. Brock, and apologized on behalf of the Olathe Police Department," Chief Thiessen told Newman.
"At times, the line between what is protected free speech and what may be considered obscene can be difficult to distinguish, but it is my responsibility to ensure all Olathe officers clearly understand the law as it is written and correctly apply that law," she added.
Newman told LifeNews.com he appreciated the Thiessen’s swift actions.
"We very much appreciate that Chief Thiessen took immediate action to issue an apology and remedy the problem with her officers," he said.
"Violations of the First Amendment are very serious, because it is one of the strongest protections for a free society," he 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.
Newman said the truck and other educational efforts would continue.
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 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.