Pro-Lifer Arrested, Reported Odd Package at Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 19, 2011   |   10:01PM   |   Wilmington, DE

A pro-life advocate in Delaware is fighting charges and false arrest after he reported to police a suspicious package at a Planned Parenthood abortion business that he worried could be a potential bomb or explosive.

Kurt Linnemann was outside the Wilmington Planned Parenthood on June 10, according to an email to he sent last week, where he frequently helps women considering abortion find positive alternatives.

“I noticed an unusual cardboard box strategically placed about 15 feet in front of the main doors of planned Parenthood and 15 feet from the corner of 7th Ave and N. Shipley Ave., where we were standing,” Linnemann explained. he said he asked two fellow pro-life advocates who were with him “if they thought the box looked like a suspicious
package to them…and they agreed with me.”

Knowing that abortion centers and pro-life advocates outsdie them have both been targeted with violence, Linnemann told LifeNews, “I thought it best to call 911 to report
the suspicious package.  I did not want any of us to get injured or killed nor did I want any of the Planned Parenthood employees or clients to be injured or killed.”

Minutes later, four Wilmington police cars arrived and one officer looked into the box, finding nothing it. As Linnemann relates:  Another officer who seemed to be
in charge said in a loud and firm voice…”put that down… it could have been a bomb, they bomb abortion clinics you know”.  Overhearing his comment…I said “yes..that is why I called you”….he yelled at me…”keep your mouth shut, you were not supposed to hear that.”

Several minutes later, one of the officers called out…..”are you Kurt Linnemann” and I said “yes” as he walked to me.  He said put your sign down and put your hands behind you back.  He aggressively grabbed my wrists and began to hand cuff me.  I called to Sean to video tape the incident and to call my wife, Samantha.  The senior officer said..” is he with you”…I said he is with me but he is not part of this (referring to the 911 call).  As I was being dragged down the street I heard an officer say…”arrest him also…for a two hour detention.”

Sean and I were processed at the Wilmington Police Department and placed together in Cell 5.  The police said we were not being arrested, simply detained. I asked what that meant…he said that they were going to review the incident and then determine if anyone would be charged and arrested. I thought surely their is nothing they could charge us on……I was wrong.

The two men prayed and, shortly thereafter, Linneman’s friend’s name was called and he was released. Two hours later, police called Linnemann’s name and he was informed he would be charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for a false bomb threat report to officials.

“I asked what I did, [and] he said that you called in a false bomb scare. I shook my head and said, ‘no I didn’t,’ [and] he corrected himself and said, ‘I guess you did not use the word bomb … you called it a suspicious package,’” Linnemann said.

On Friday, representatives from Delaware Right to Life joined Linnemann for a press conference to call out local police concerning the incident.

“The Wilmington Police Department has demonstrated a pattern of harassment and abuse of peaceful pro lifers who regularly gather at Planned Parenthood for prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling,” organizers said.

Linnemann is slated to appear in court on June 23.