Police Arrest Law-Abiding Citizen & Illegally Confiscate Ultrasound Imagery

On Feb 7, 2012, at 9:07 AM, Gregg Cunningham wrote:

Good press release Stephanie.  We always interact with the police before

doing street displays to reduce the likelihood of running afoul of some

ignorant, cowboy cop.  Calgary has lots of cowboys so it may have more

than its fair share of cowboy cops!  “Stunting” is what we go to the

circus to see.  Were any of your volunteers performing acrobatic acts?

Would circus ticket holders pay to watch performers stand immobile

holding signs.  That would be about as exciting as watching paint dry.

If the display of a sign along a street is a “stunt” then city and

provincial governments “stunt” every time they post a street sign.  The

same offense would be committed by every business which displays

commercial signs along a street.  But the double blessing in this fiasco

is that you will have another opportunity to strengthen expressive

rights and the resulting publicity helps focus public attention on the

humanity of babies and the inhumanity of abortions.  Double

congratulations on those double victories.

Gregg Cunningham

The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform

PO Box 219

Lake Forest, CA 92609

949-206-0600

www.abortionNO.org

—–Original Message—–

From: Stephanie Gray [mailto:sgray@unmaskingchoice.ca]

Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 6:18 AM

To: Stephanie Gray

Subject: Immediate Release: Police Arrest Law-Abiding Citizen &

Illegally Confiscate Ultrasound Imagery

For Immediate Release:

POLICE ARREST LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN & ILLEGALLY CONFISCATE ULTRASOUND

IMAGERY

February 7, 2012. Calgary, AB. Newly released video

arresting a local anti-abortion advocate who was simply protesting on a

public sidewalk, something he had done many times before without

incident.

Francisco Gomez of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR:

http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca) was leading a group of young adults in a

protest near Chinook Mall this past Saturday, February 4, when police

approached them and threatened Gomez with arrest if they didn’t stop the

protest. Gomez explained that they were on these same streets many times

before and that they had a constitutional right to be there so he

refused to move. The officer then took him away and detained him in a

squad car, giving him a ticket for over $400.  The police also

confiscated the group’s dozen signs which depict first-trimester

abortions and first-trimester 3D ultrasound imagery.

“We’ve been on the streets of Calgary for over two years now and have

dealt with all kinds of police, many of whom understand our

constitutional rights,” says Gomez. “Unfortunately, some of them need to

be educated that free speech rights cover unpopular speech. If I am only

allowed to share truths that make everyone happy, there would be no need

for free speech.”

CCBR’s executive director Stephanie Gray says her group has developed

this project as a way to educate people about abortion. She points out

how so many people tell their group how little they think about the

issue until they see abortion imagery.

“Canadians need to see these images in order to understand what abortion

is. But here’s why the police’s actions are so incomprehensible: If

abortion is so offensive to see that you arrest people who are holding

images of it, then why isn’t it offensive enough to arrest people for

actually committing abortions?”  She continued,”If holding images of

babies killed by abortion is illegal, then why isn’t killing those

babies illegal?

Ironically, Gomez adds that the police actually seized all of CCBR’s

ultrasound imagery as well the graphic ones. Those images simply show

the developing pre-born in different stages of development. “The police

officer claimed that our images shouldn’t be on the streets because they

were something that he didn’t want his children to see. But by seizing

all our images, it seems they didn’t care what our message was,” he

said. CCBR’s signs continue to be held by Calgary police.

The officer initially told Gomez his signs had to go because they were

resulting in complaints and were obscene. Being charged with obscenity

is a criminal matter. But instead he gave Gomez a $402 ticket under the

Traffic Safety Act for stunting (stating no person shall “perform or

engage in any stunt or other activity that is likely to distract,

startle, or interfere with users of the highway”).

But Canadian courts have already ruled on a similar case.  In R.v.

Whatcott, Judge Kraus of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s bench ruled

that a pro-life advocate was not stunting when he was publicly

displaying abortion signs.  The judge wrote, “The police action was

arbitrary, discriminatory and not clearly authorized by law such as can

be demonstrated in a free and democratic society, as required by s. 1 of

the Charter…The appellant’s fundamental freedom of expression as

guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Charter was infringed” (October 18, 2004,

SKQB 413).

“It’s appalling that police think they can bully people whose message

they don’t agree with,” said Gomez.  “The police have failed in their

duty to protect the vulnerable by not stopping abortion. They are adding

insult to injury by arresting the people trying to protect the

vulnerable children that the police aren’t protecting.”

CCBR’s demonstrations have been occurring in Calgary since 2010.  The

organization goes out multiple times each week and informs Calgary

police of its planned activities, times, and locations.

“We have gone above the call of duty to be helpful to police by

informing them of our whereabouts.  We know we have every right to do

what we’re doing and we will not tolerate bullying and censorship,”

stated Gray, who says this recent incident is one of several in which

her group says they’ve been treated unfairly by police.

“We are tired of police violating our constitutional rights and we

demand they return our signs immediately; further, we demand the

officers involved in the unlawful seizure and arrest to be reprimanded

for abusing their authority.”

For more information contact CCBR’s executive director Stephanie Gray at

403-200-0777 (cell).

###

Stephanie Gray

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) Box 123,

5-8720 Macleod Trail SE

Calgary, AB  T2H 0M4

403-668-0485 (office)

403-539-2227 (fax)

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