Planned Parenthood Security Guard Assaults Police Officer

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2011   |   4:05PM   |   Columbus, OH

A Planned Parenthood abortion business security guard assaulted a police officer at a Planned Parenthood event on Wednesday where pro-life advocates were protesting.

Mark Harrington of the pro-life group Created Equal, along with several other pro-life activists, held a protest at Planned Parenthood (PP) of Central Ohio’s “Condom Couture 2011″event at the Shadowbox Live Theater. Sometime after arriving at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser, off duty Columbus Police Officer Jack Addington, who was hired by Planned Parenthood for event security, began harassing demonstrators which finally resulted in a physical assault against Criminal Information Unit Detective Roger Dickinson.

Harrington provided this account to LifeNews:

Our group, Created Equal, arrived at the Shadowbox Live Theater around 5:30PM.  Upon arrival, as is my custom, I approached Officer Addington and introduced myself.  I informed him that we were law abiding citizens who had come to express our first amendment rights and share the pro-life message with those attending the PP fundraiser.  I explained that we would keep the sidewalk free to pedestrians.  Officer Addington tersely replied, “You will need to keep moving.” To which I responded, “With all due respect, that is not the law regarding demonstrations of this nature.”  I said, “If that is the law then you will need to inform the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrators to ‘keep moving’ and remove the encampment on the sidewalk in front of the state house.”  To which Officer Addington replied, “This isn’t the state house!”  I said, “This is a public sidewalk and the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters are also on the public sidewalk.  Police cannot treat us differently than them.  Both groups have the same right to free speech.”

I told him that we would have no problem complying with any lawful order.  I asked to see the law or ordinance that compels protesters to ‘keep moving’ when they are on a public sidewalk.  Officer Addington angrily said, “Let me prove to you who is in charge here!”  I took this to be a physical threat to me and fellow pro-lifers.  Because of Officer Addington’s threat, we decided, for the moment, to obey his order to ‘keep moving.’  It was then that we contacted Criminal Information Unit Detective Roger Dickinson.

Detective Dickinson has in the past been helpful in resolving any issues and concerns we have had regarding the law and safety when protesting.  Upon receiving our phone call, Detective Dickinson told us to comply with Officer Addington’s order until he arrived on the scene.  When Detective Dickinson arrived he began discussing the issue with Officer Addington.  Officer Addington angrily disagreed with Detective Dickinson.  The next thing I knew Officer Addington began to physically assault Detective Dickinson by forcing him into the stairway of the Shaddowbox Theatre and pinning him up against the wall.  Several of our members immediately called 911 to report the incident and ask for help.  For the next several minutes Officer Addington continued to physically assault Detective Dickinson.  Soon after, the police arrived on the scene.  Even after police arrived, Officer Addington continued to assault and shout at Detective Dickinson.

Detective Dickinson behaved professionally during the entire assault and never attempted to resist or defend himself, preferring to continue to ask Officer Addington to stop pushing him.

In my experience, the vast majority of Columbus Police behave professionally.  Ninety-nine percent of the time we receive fair treatment from the police when we express our first amendment rights.

Officer Addington’s behavior does not represent the entire Columbus Police Department.  His actions should NOT be used to impugn the entire Columbus Police Department.  The Police who responded to our calls for assistance conducted themselves admirably, including and especially Detective Dickinson.  However, having said that, Officer Addington should be reprimanded for his actions. An internal investigation is underway.

God only knows what compelled Officer Addington to act violently and behave unprofessionally with one of his fellow officers.

Ruth Yorston, the executive director of Greater Columbus Right to Life also was at the protest and provided her own account of what happened:

Two groups organized volunteer activists to attend the fund raiser – Greater Columbus Right to Life and Created Equal. GCRTL was there with hand-held signs that read “Abortion Kills Children”. Created Equal was there with larger signs – some with images of healthy pre-born children and some with images of children after having been aborted.

Officer Addington was hired by Planned Parenthood to provide security for the evening. When the pro-life volunteers arrived and Officer Addington came out of the building, Mark Harrington approached him, as is his custom, introduced himself and assured him that this is a group of law-abiding citizens expressing our first-amendment rights at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser and that we would keep an open path for people to walk through. Officer Addington, confrontational from the get-go, told us we would could not stand still. Mark questioned him about this (we know that the law does not require protesters to keep moving on a public sidewalk, only that the walkway must not be blocked so others can pass by unimpeded).  Mark told Officer Addington that we would have no problem complying with a lawful order and asked to see the law or ordinance that requires protesters to “keep moving” when they are on a public sidewalk. Officer Addington replied “Let me prove to you who is in charge here.” His tone was angry and confrontational. Mark interpreted this as a physical threat; so did I (I was standing directly behind Mark at the time). We instructed all of our volunteers to comply with Officer Addington’s order and one of our members called Detective Roger Dickinson. He was already aware of the event and, as I understand, was in transit to come and watch over it.

Roger Dickinson is with CPD’s Strategic Response Bureau, Criminal Information Unit, He and his partner are the two officers on the CPD whose job it is to oversee events in the City of Columbus where there is a known potential for violence. (OSU sporting events, political gatherings, and protests, for example). Det. Dickinson is on GCRTL’s email distribution list so he is aware of all of our events. He often comes by to check on us – always in plain clothing. He is fair in his dealing with us and with those who disagree with us. I consider him to be one of the city’s “experts” on matters pertaining to first amendment rights.

When Det. Dickinson arrived he approached Officer Addington, identified himself by name and rank, and told Officer Addington that we were not required to keep moving. He also instructed us that we did not need to keep moving. Det. Dickinson stepped up into the stairwell leading into the Shadowbox Theater restaurant to continue the discussion with Officer Addington more privately. Some moments later I heard Det. Dickinson say, “What are you doing, Jack? Get off of me!” I stepped over toward the stairwell to see what was happening. A volunteer pulled out her video camera and began to record. Officer Addington had pinned Det. Dickinson into the corner of the stairwell and had his handcuffs out as if to detain him and place Det. Dickinson under arrest. He had his left arm across Det. Dickinson’s chest and was clearly applying pressure to hold him in place. At the same time he was yelling at Det. Dickinson that he had been ordered out of the stairwell. Det. Dickinson managed to get to his phone and was placing a call – I can only presume for backup. Officer Addington continued his assault on Det. Dickinson. Several of the pro-life volunteers called 911 and requested help. Within minutes several Columbus City Police cars arrived on the scene.

Even with all of the hooplah surrounding us, courageous pro-life activists continued to witness to Planned Parenthood’s supporters as they arrived.  We continued to hold our signs and encourage them not to support an Planned Parenthood.  I’m very proud of the pro-lifers who were there on Wednesday and proud to be amongst their numbers.

I want to make several things very clear about this event:
  • All of the pro-lifers in attendance obeyed the unlawful directive we were given to keep moving.  All were obedient and peaceful and handled this highly-charged situation extremely well.
  • Detective Dickinson did nothing to bring on the treatment he received from Officer Addington.  He was there in the line of duty doing exactly what the citizens of Columbus pay him to do – keep the peace.  He treated Officer Addington with respect and tried to discuss this matter with him privately.
  • The rest of the Columbus City Police department handled this situation admirably.  They were professional, polite and extremely helpful.  Officer Addington’s behavior does not reflect in any way on the behavior of any other officer in attendance.

Office Addington was out of control on Wednesday night.  His actions were unwarranted.  His order to the pro-life volunteers who were there to protest Planned Parenthood and bring awareness of their inseparable link to the killing of pre-born children was ignorant of the rights we hold under the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  His assault on a fellow officer who was there to help resolve the improper instructions we were given and help maintain peace was, perhaps, criminal.

The Columbus Police Department’s motto is “Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Enthusiasm.”  I suppose one could say that Officer Addington was enthusiastic, on Wednesday, but as for professional, respectful, acting with integrity and discipline, he came up gravely short.  Time will tell how the Columbus Police Department will handle one of their own who seems not to be aware of U.S. Citizens’s right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly (or perhaps chooses to apply the law correctly only to those with whom he agrees), who brought embarrassment on the entire police force by his actions that evening, and who assaulted one of his fellow officers.  I for one, hope that they do not sweep this incident under the rug.

I also ask that you pray for Officer Addington.  While I wholeheartedly disapprove of his actions and hope that the Columbus Police Department will not tolerate his behavior, I must remember that he, too, is created by and loved by God. Perhaps in hindsight he is regretting is behavior that evening.  I pray so.

Both groups provided LifeNews video of the assault captured on tape: