Officers shut down street preacher, then pay him compensation

‘It was intimidating and humiliating to be confronted by police’

First, police officers in Dorset, England, ordered a street preacher to shut up.

Then they physically manhandled him.

Now they’ve paid him more than $1,600 in damages.

The incident took place April 22 at the height of COVID restrictions when Dominic Muir, 44, the head of New Believe and Jesus Fields Christian ministries, was standing in the back of his pickup truck on mostly deserted streets in Blandford Forum town center in Dorset, according to the U.K. charity Christian Concern.

He was singing and then started preaching.

Within minutes, he was approached by a police officer who said, “I am going to have to move you on.”

Muir insisted he had right to preach in public, but the officer said, “I am going to need you to produce some paperwork to say that you are allowed to do that here.”

When Muir continued preaching, the officer waited a few minutes, then shouted, “Time’s up!” and clambered up on the truck and grabbed Muir.

Muir convinced the officer to let go of his arm, then he packed up his equipment and left.

“During the course of the lockdown, Christian ministry in general was treated as non-essential by the U.K. government, which led to a wave of police clampdowns on street preaching, and even some Christian homeless ministries,” Christian Concern said. “Following the incident, Dominic sought help from the Christian Legal Centre, which assisted him with a pre-action letter to the Chief Constable of Dorset Police, seeking compensation for the police assault.”

The letter noted the COVID regulations did not prohibit the right to free speech.

“In response, Dorset police have now admitted that the officer acted unlawfully, and have paid £1,250 in damages and costs,” the report said.

Muir said: “It was intimidating and humiliating to be confronted by the police in this way and treated as a potential criminal. I have no doubt that if I had continued to preach or sing, I would have been handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “Christian ministry in church or on the street should never have been deemed as ‘non-essential’ nor as a problem which needed to go away during lockdown. This must never happen again. Dominic Muir had not broken lockdown restrictions. He was singing and preaching about the hope of Jesus Christ on the back of his truck at a time of great uncertainty and need for many.”

VIDEO Cops Pay Thousand To Street Preacher

Had been arrested for promoting Christianity



A street preacher who was arrested in London for promoting Christianity has been awarded $2,786 by the Metropolitan Police for wrongful arrest.

Nigerian preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi was arrested in February in front of a subway station after a passer-by called called police, accusing him of “Islamophobic” remarks. A police officer snatched the preacher’s Bible and said: “No one wants to hear that. They want you to go away.” Officers then drove him several miles away and let him out of the car.

The arrest prompted a petition campaign in March urging the British home secretary to protect street preachers.

See video of the incident: reported Ilesanmi described the outcome of his case as a victory for freedom of speech.

“I believe God loves everyone, including Muslims, but I have the right to say I that I don’t agree with Islam – we are living in a Christian country, after all,” he said.

A video of the incident shows an officer taking away the preacher’s Bible. Another officer says: “You should’ve thought about that before being racist.”

Shortly after the arrest of Ilesanmi, a review was proposed by the Professional Standards Unit of the Metropolitan police.

Ilesanmi had been accosted by a Muslim activist shortly before the video, according to the legal advocacy group Barnabas Fund.

“The man was loudly abusive about the Bible and God with his face close to the preacher’s. The young man also threatened the preacher, brandishing a closed fist holding prayer beads,” the report said.

The European Convention on Human Rights recognizes freedom of religion and expression, which includes the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by a public authority.

JihadWatch Director Robert Spencer commented that the outcome of the Nigerian preacher’s case “is good news, but it is nonetheless still clear in what direction Britain is heading.”

“Would a Muslim preacher have ever been arrested and charged with ‘racism’ for preaching Islam to Christians? Of course not.”


Cops pay thousands to street preacher

Portland now 2-time loser in cases against street preachers

Hearing officer overturns ticket, ban from city property



The city of Portland, Oregon — described by a legal team as having “a well-earned reputation for displaying hostility toward the Christian faith” — has become a two-time loser in cases against street preachers on city property.

The Pacific Justice Institute lawyers defended Mark Mayberry of Riddle, Oregon, who was ticketed and banned from a city park for street preaching.

He travels around Oregon to share the gospel and call for an end to abortion.

The confrontation developed June 1.

PJI said Mayberry was at Portland’s Waterfront Park “holding a sign defending the unborn, passing out related tracts, and engaging people in conversations about abortion and the gospel when a park officer ordered Mayberry to leave.”

“Asserting his constitutionally protected right of free speech, Mayberry refused. The park officer then issued Mayberry a citation excluding him from coming to Waterfront Park for 30 days,” PJI said.

The city charged Mayberry with violating an ordinance by refusing to obey a park officer’s orders and a state harassment statute.

But PJI argued Mayberry’s actions don’t fit the Oregon law’s definition of harassment. The law describes it as using insulting or abusive language and acting in a way that is likely to provoke a violent response.

Further, PJI attorney Ray Hacke explained: “The ordinance that Mayberry was cited under declares a park officer’s order to be unreasonable if it is aimed at constitutionally protected, speech-related conduct. Park officers are tasked with enforcing the law, which means they should know what the law is. They should certainly know better than to take actions aimed at chilling free speech.”

PJI, on behalf of Mayberry, appealed to the Portland city auditor’s office, the next step in the process, and a hearing was held.

“After hearing testimony from Mayberry and witness Mason Goodknight, who had been preaching at Waterfront Park while Mayberry passed out tracts on June 1, as well as opening and closing statements from Hacke, the hearing officer held that the park officer’s issuance of the citation had indeed violated Mayberry’s free speech rights under both the Oregon and federal constitutions. The hearing officer invalidated Mayberry’s exclusion accordingly,” PJI said.

The organization recounted the city’s history of violating the constitutional rights of open-air evangelists.

It was in the previous Gathright v. City of Portland case that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a permanent injunction preventing the city from removing without probable cause street preachers from city parks, which are traditional free-speech public forums.

Brad Dacus, the president of PJI, explained: “Federal and state law both protect Christians’ rights to express their views public. The city of Portland doesn’t get to shut them down just because some people find their views distasteful or offensive. The city auditor made the right call in exonerating Mark Mayberry, but the city should be forewarned: there will be consequences for the city’s unlawful actions toward him.”