Friday, September 22nd, 2023

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‘Unlawful Arrest’: Christian Preacher Arrested for Protesting LGBT ‘Pride’ March Has Charges Dropped

‘Unlawful Arrest’: Christian Preacher Arrested for Protesting LGBT ‘Pride’ March Has Charges Dropped

Damon Atkins, the Christian preacher who was arrested a week ago and ordered to “respect” LGBTs by police while protesting a “Pride” march in Reading, Pennsylvania, has had all charges against him dropped.

From The Lancaster Patriot:

“After a review of the incident which took place on June 3, 2023, in the 800 block of Washington Street in the City of Reading, the District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn the charges of disorderly conduct filed against Damon Atkins,” a Facebook post from the Berks County District Attorney said.

In an e-mail provided to The Lancaster Patriot, Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach said that “based on the review of the evidence and the law the Berks County DA withdrew the charges today against Damon Atkins.”

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In an earlier e-mail provided to The Lancaster Patriot, Commissioner Leinbach said the arrest could lead to potential legal action against the city and police department.

“From what I have seen thus far I believe this was an unlawful arrest and could open the City of Reading and their police department to legal action,” Leinbach said in the e-mail.

Video of Atkins’ arrest racked up millions of views on social media.

Reading Police Chief Richard Tornielli on Thursday said they were “inundated with phone calls” over the arrest and painted police as the true victims.

From WFMZ:

“Since the arrest of Damon Atkins, the Reading Police Department Communications Center has been inundated with phone calls from individuals voicing complaints about the arrest,” said Reading Police Chief Richard Tornielli in a statement provided to 69 News.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, our Communications Center fielded hundreds of calls on phone lines that are used for emergency and non-emergency requests for police assistance. These harassing phone calls have distracted our communication personnel from fielding calls related to incidents taking place in the City of Reading. This potentially creates a dangerous situation causing delays in police responses.” Tornielli explained.

“Many of the phone calls received have included threats to police personnel and have contained inappropriate and vile language. The Reading Police Department and our partner law enforcement agencies are investigating the calls which have contained threatening language and will pursue charges where appropriate.”

Reading Mayor Eddie Moran voiced support for Atkins’ arrest in a statement to the media on the same day:

“First and foremost, I consider myself lucky to have been able to participate in the Reading Pride March and Rally. It truly was a wonderful event, and I look forward to continuing to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community throughout the month of June,” said Moran in a statement sent to 69 News. “With regard to the incident, the City respects the First Amendment rights of all individuals. However, freedom of speech does not include the right to disrupt an organized event and interfere with the rights of others.”

Your rights end where our feelings begin.

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