Birmingham, Alabama Sued for Arresting Pro-Life Advocates Opposing Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
June 15, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Birmingham, Alabama officials are the subject of a new pro-life lawsuit from the Life Legal Defense Foundation. The pro-life legal group says several Birmingham police officers engaged in "outrageous civil rights violations" against nine pro-life advocates who were arrested last year.
LLDF tells LifeNews.com the pro-life young people were unlawfully arrested in February last year and they spent more than 14 hours in jail for holding signs and handing out literature on a public sidewalk in front of a local high school.
The lawsuit is filed in conjunction with attorney Phillip Jauregui and it seeks redress for what LLDF calls the unlawful actions of Birmingham police officers in prohibiting peaceful free speech activity on the public sidewalk adjacent to Parker High School.
The pro-life advocates are members of the pro-life activist youth group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust and they were handing out literature to students as they left the building at the end of the school day.
The officers told the group the sidewalk was private property and not a public sidewalk and insisted the pro-life advocates go to a sidewalk across the street to hold their signs and distribute literature.
When the pro-life activists refused to move, police arrested all nine including those who were only filming the police interaction. Police officials also confiscated the groups camera equipment, destroying some of the video coverage of the event, and towed their van, resulting in damage to the vehicle.
The animosity the police displayed toward these peaceful young people and their message was truly chilling, LLDF Legal Director Katie Short told LifeNews.com today. "The city itself is continuing to press frivolous trespass charges against them."
Short said "this lawsuit is necessary to vindicate the Survivors right to express their pro-life views on a public sidewalk.
The Survivors team plans to return to Birmingham this summer to participate in a series of pro-life demonstrations on the public sidewalks adjacent to public schools in and around the city.
In addition to the legal complaint, the pro-life group is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the city and the Birmingham Police Department from arresting the group members when they return.
A hearing date for the motion will be set later this week.
Related web sites:
Life Legal Defense Foundation – https://lldf.org
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