Good news: A federal court has awarded $197K to a group of Christian evangelicals who police threatened to arrest for preaching at a Michigan Arab festival.
The Christian were threatened by a violent mob, which had started throwing rocks at them and were threatening even worse violence. Rather than protect them, however, the Dearborn police instead told the Christians they had to leave, or be arrested for disorderly conduct. In other words, at this Arab festival the police unilaterally decided to suspend their freedom of speech and allow the heckler’s veto to win. If you don’t believe me, you can see exactly what happened in the the video below the fold.
The court had previously ruled in favor of the Christians, but what makes this final decision significant is that it declares the policemen themselves personally liable.
In its decision, which was made final today by the entry of judgment in the district court, the Sixth Circuit ruled, among other things, that two Deputy Chief defendants from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office were liable for violating the Christians’ First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and for depriving the Christians of the equal protection of the law. The court ruled that these individual defendants did not enjoy qualified immunity.
In other words, if you are a cop and deny someone their first amendment rights — threatening them with arrest for exercising those rights — you can be found personal liable in court and end up paying that individual a lot of money for denying them their rights.
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Victory for free speech: A federal court today ruled that the First Amendment rights of several Christians were violated by the police when they forcibly removed them from a 2012 Arab-American festival in Dearborn, Michigan when the Muslims there began throwing bottles, eggs and other objects at them.
By an 8-7 vote, the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said Wayne County, Michigan and two deputy police chiefs were civilly liable to members of Bible Believers for violating their First Amendment rights. The case now returns to a federal district judge to award damages and attorney’s fees.
It is important to understand what happened. The Muslim festival was open to the general public, being held on public streets. All the Christians did was walk through that festival holding signs and preaching the gospel. They were then attacked by a mob, and the police, rather than arresting the attackers, threatened the Christians with arrest if they didn’t shut up and leave. When the Christian refused the police escorted them away.
Watch the video of the event below the fold if you don’t believe me.
The bad news however is that the court only ruled in favor of free speech by an 8-7 vote, and that it was overturning a lower court ruling that had said the police had the right to remove the Christians. These details are further proof that a large percentage of the American intellectual community now believes it perfectly reasonable for the government to silence religious speech, if it thinks it has to, and that it is perfectly reasonable to accept the heckler’s veto when someone wishes to express an opinion that is disagreeable.
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In a ruling today a court has ruled that the police have the right to curtail the free speech of Christians on a public street if Muslims threaten them with violence.
Let me describe what happened again that so there is no confusion. There was a Muslim festival open to the general public on the streets of Dearborn, Michigan. Some Christians wanted to walk through that festival holding signs and preaching the gospel. They were attacked by a mob. The police, instead of arresting the attackers, threatened the Christians with arrest if they didn’t shut up and leave.
If you doubt me, watch the video of that event, which I posted when it happened under the title The Stoning of Christians — in Michigan.
In essence, the court has sanctioned the heckler’s veto. If you don’t like what someone is saying, threaten them with violence and the police will shut them up for you so that you don’t behave badly.
Even though Dearborn, Michigan lost a $100,000 court suit for falsely arresting and denying Christians their freedom of religion during the annual Dearborn Arab Festival, it appears the police in Dearborn have not learned their lesson. Not only do they do nothing to prevent the throwing by Muslim children of rocks, bottles, garbage, eggs, and concrete at a group of Christians who are merely standing on the sidewalk holding signs, the police eventually force the Christians to leave. As one man tells the police, “You’re rewarding riotous behavior. You’re teaching that crowd that if they riot, they’re rewarded by that rioting by kicking out the people they don’t want.”
Watch the video below the fold. It is very important to note again that these Christians were doing nothing but standing there with their signs on a public street. The response of the Muslim crowd is hardly in accordance with American principles of tolerance, and reveals a savagery and hate that is horrifying. And the willingness of the police to allow the violence is despicable.
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