Arrested for Preaching ----------- Feedback Box:
By Dave Leach
Herb Richards was arrested June 10, about 15 minutes before the "Gay Pride" parade began in Des Moines, for telling the homosexuals there about Hell. A police officer told him he could talk to them along the parade route, which would begin just around the corner, but not on the street just west of the state capitol.
There is no law against speaking about Hell on a public street. Nor is there a law restricting information about Hell more on one public street, than on another public street. Herb's case is the answer for councilmen who think Christians are paronoid who anticipate ways they may be persecuted under this new law. Herb's case shows that the city legal department has so turned against Christians that they won't even wait for a law before they will prosecute. If they will prosecute like this without any law, what will they do when they have a law?
Police Sgt. Tim Johnson charged Herb with "Interference with Official Acts". On his "preliminary complaint", Johnson wrote "interfered with a permit event trying to disrupt scheduled start - refused to leave area." He cited Iowa Code 719.1 as the law which Herb was supposed to have broken.
Iowa laws are torturous, multiple choice affairs where you have to cross out the phrases that couldn't possibly apply and then see if anything is left that makes sense. Here's a possibility: "A person who.knowingly.obstructs the.execution by any authorized person of any civil.process.commits a simple misdemeanor."
(If you like word puzzles, you will enjoy the unedited version: "A person who knowingly resists or obstructs anyone known by the person to be a peace officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, in the performance of any act which is within the scope of the lawful duty or authority of that officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, or who knowingly resists or obstructs the service or execution by any authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any court, commits a simple misdemeanor.")
Herb Richards quoting Scripture at the Des Moines City Council's first vote to sodomize Des Moines, to force employers (including churches, for non-minesterial jobs) to hire sodomites, and landlords to rent to them.
In other words, Sgt. Johnson is saying the "Gay Pride" parade had a city permit, so it is a "civil process", and Herb "obstructed" it, so Herb ought to go to jail for up to 30 days and pay up to $100 fine plus "court costs".
Sgt. Johnson's problem is that paragraph (3) says "The terms 'resist' and 'obstruct', as used in this section, do not include verbal harassment unless the verbal harassment is accompanied by a present ability and apparent intention to execute a verbal threat physically." Will Sgt. Johnson take the stand and say this white-haired, retired 70-year-old had the "present ability" to physically block the movement of the two somewhat wild horses? (I filmed them, after they paraded to the next street, and had to wait as one of the horses almost bucked as it went 100' on the lawn and was finally forced back to the street.)
Herb's case, number SM240172, (according to the "Order of Initial Appearance"; or 01-22569, according to the Preliminary Complaint) is scheduled for Pretrial Conference July 17, 2:30 p.m., in room 114A of the Polk County Courthouse. The county attorney on the job is H. Lemon.
Lemon? Hmmm. Lemon was the man who tried to prosecute a black man about 8 years ago for trying to "kill" a police officer with a video camera. What a case!
The black community was riled over brutal arrests, so they organized teams of men with video cameras who would rush to the site of any arrest to document any brutality. When officer Max Street saw this man with his camera, he threw him violently down and handcuffed him, the camera flying. In court, this officer actually told the court he thought the man was carrying a brick and looked like he was going to "take out" his buddy, officer Scarcello. After much patient testimony when it became obvious that there was no brick, just a video camera, Street actually said he still believed, to this day, that the black man was trying to "take out" his buddy with that camera! The judge found the man innocent, but did so with pompous face-saving words for the police. As for Lemon, I never saw him even blush.
I can see that Lemon is the man to prosecute Herb.
Herb has spoken against homosexuality for years, at school board meetings and at the state capitol when the Iowa legislature considered civil rights based on sexual orientation 12 years ago. Others have threatened him with calls to police before, but never before has he been arrested.
The arrest took place less than a week after homosexuals won the first of three votes needed to enact civil rights protection based on sexual orientation. If they are this intolerant of religious speech while they still need the city's support for two more Council votes, how intolerant, how aggressive in court, will they become after the votes are in? In other words, (Luke 23:31) For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Herb Richards, (243-5375), was arrested about 12:45 June 10 on the street west of the Capitol. He had been telling the two men on horseback who led the parade, "You know, that lifestyle is going to take you to hell. That lifestyle will take you to hell. The Bible says you're going to Hell, that homosexual lifestyle will take you to hell. Why don't you go back to hell where you came from?" (These words are as Herb remembered them 5 days later, June 15, 2001 AD, and related them to me as I questioned him to get as much detail as possible.)
I asked him why he added that last sentence. He answered "because they were bringing their hell lifestyle to our town. I didn't want them to." Later he added that he meant "Why don't you take your lifestyle back to Hell where you got it from?" Even when Herb's words are hard for some to hear, his gentle, quiet vocal tone and friendly demeanor combine with his 70 years to make him seem far from threatening.
While he was talking, a parade organizer whom Herb recognizes as probably the homosexual mayor from central Iowa, came angrily trotting over from about 60-70 feet away (too far away, we presume, for him to have heard Herb's words) and told Herb "you're going to have to quit talking here or I'm going to call the police." Herb answered "go ahead." Herb says he's been intimidated like that before but it never went anywhere.
But approximately 5 minutes later, after Herb had been sharing those same approximate thoughts with others, a policeman came and told Herb "if you're going to holler at them you have to go out on the parade route and do it."
Herb answered "I've got a right to speak to these people. This is public property." The officer answered "Well we will have to take you to jail." I said "Well go ahead." Herb says he said that because he couldn't stop him, and he was still having trouble accepting that this could happen. Herb was on the street just west of the Capitol, E. 9th, also identified on the phone book map, believe it or not, as "Finkbine Drive". The parade officially "began" just around the corner of E 9th and Grand. Herb was standing on the street, on Finkbine, when he was arrested.
Herb had been there a total of perhaps 10 minutes. He was never informed of the charge against him.
Herb was taken to jail and held 2-3 hours before his brother posted bail amounting to about $55 on a $325 bond, and told to come Tuesday June 19th to room 201 of the Polk County Courthouse. He was given no paperwork showing the charges against him.
On June 19, he was required to plead "innocent" or "guilty" before he was given the information reported above, that he might know by what law, and by which of his actions, he was alleged to be "guilty". He pleaded innocent.
Sgt. Johnson put down Herb's weight at 275 pounds. Herb weighs 190. Was Sgt. Johnson that intimidated by Herb's message, that he would react like people looking down the barrel of a thief's gun and report it as 5 times larger than life? I wonder what other details Sgt. Johnson might miss in his coming testimony?
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