Pro-Life Advocates Arrested in Birmingham Say Police Hiding Camera Evidence
by Steven Ertelt
February 16, 2009
Birmingham, AL (LifeNews.com) — The pro-life advocates who were arrested last week and detained overnight after distributing pro-life literature outside a local high school want police to return their camera equipment so they can prove their innocence. Kortney Blythe, director of the Survivors Campus Life Tours, will hold a news conference today.
During the event, in front of the Birmingham Police Department Central Headquarters, Blythe will demand the release of the pro-life group’s cameras and videos.
During their arrest, police confiscated them and Blythe says the records contained on them can show that the police arrested the pro-life advocates without cause.
Nine college-aged participants in the Survivors Campus Life Tour were arrested on a public sidewalk while distributing literature to students. The group of pro-life youth activists quietly held signs, distributed literature and peacefully dialogued with students on the public sidewalk.
Local officials threatened the pro-life advocates with arrest and they contacted their attorneys, who informed them that their location on the public sidewalk and their free speech activity was legal according to local and state laws.
Once the members of the pro-life team finished distributing their literature and were loading their van in preparation to leave, officers handcuffed and arrested all nine pro-life advocates without warning.
At the time of the arrests, a member of the Campus Life Tour overheard police officers saying, "we need to wipe the cameras", because of the evidence contained on the video, Blythe told LifeNews.com today.
Following the release of the young people from Birmingham City Jail on Friday, the group attempted to recover their video cameras from the police headquarters. They were told that the property was logged as evidence and needed to be released by the officer who checked it in, Officer C. Smith.
The pro-life advocates "were not trespassing on school property at any time during their literature distribution, as the video footage will clearly show," she said.
Blythe said her group tried to contact Officer Smith at the beginning of his next shift and police officials told her that he was late and would not arrive until after the property department would be closed and her group would be unable to obtain the cameras.
"How convenient. The property department closed at 5:00 p.m. and Officer Smith just happened to arrive late to work the day she was needed to release our cameras," said Blythe. "It is clear the Birmingham Police Department is playing a game with our personal property, and I am going to the Central Headquarters to demand an end to this charade."
Blythe concluded: "We are confident that the video footage contained on our cameras will prove that the Survivors were not trespassing, and that the Birmingham police officers’ actions were unlawful and abusive. It is imperative that we recover the camera equipment and data, and we will not rest until the Birmingham Police Department returns our property intact."
Related web sites:
Survivors – https://www.survivors.la
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