On March 30, 2009 I was ordered by an arraignment judge to stay a minimum of one block away from Planned Parenthood for one year. This stay away order was sought by the prosecution with an exception for Good Friday because, as the prosecutor stated on the record, "...police officials tell me that Mr. Gibson is very cooperative on Good Friday." The order was granted immediately without the judge even looking toward me, let alone accept any input from me.
It gets worse. The prosecutor told me that at my upcoming pre-trial hearing, the City of St. Paul will be seeking to charge me with interfering with clinic access. This is the gross misdemeanor Minnesota Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) law which is punishable up to a year in prison and up to $3,000 fine. To my knowledge I am the first to face being charged under Minnesota FACE.
The charges were from an incident on December 11, 2008 where I was engaging in my regular sidewalk counseling efforts at Planned Parenthood's (PP) abortuary in St. Paul, Minn. A couple had come there in a taxi and was let out of the cab in the driveway apron of the fast food restaurant next door to PP. This couple was most likely coming to PP for an abortion. My opportunity to offer them literature and let them know of the wealth of help available would be short-lived if the aggressive PP "escorts" were able to come over and block me out as they have so often done. I had a short 30 feet of public sidewalk to offer help, if an escort didn't interfer sooner. I walked next to the man with the woman on his other side away from me. He immediately began to tell me that he didn't want any information and not to talk to him. So I spoke the woman who remained silent as we walked next to each other for about twenty feet of the distance. At one point, the man pushed out his forearm to force me away. I told him not to touch me, he told me not to touch him, I told him that I haven't and won't and went back to letting the woman know that PP would hide the ultrasound from her and she needed to insist on seeing it. I stopped short of the front sidewalk area of PP as the couple walked passed me freely. Once on PP's property, the woman spoke her first words to me, telling me to, "fxxx off." I then pleaded with her saying, "Please don't let them kill your baby." Hearing this, she spun around while in the doorway to PP and screamed, "I'm going to kill you."
The police were called and the man lied to the officer (one I have never seen at PP before) telling him that I had shoved first. A PP employee falsely told the officer that PP used to have a restraining order against me that had expired. The police officer was also told that there was shouting, implying that I had been the one shouting. The officer came out and asked me a few questions and went back into PP. After about another 20 minutes, I went to leave. (I was already close to an hour past the time I usually leave.) The officer came driving after me around the block, when I saw his car I immediately went over to it and asked if he needed any more information. At this point he told me that I was being cited for "aggressive solicitation," St. Paul's anti-panhandling ordinance. He handed me a piece of paper that explained the charge. I tried to explain to him that this law could not apply to me since the primary part of the law required I try to solicit someone. I asked if the man and the woman were being charged with anything since my life had been threatened and I was physically shoved. He told me he couldn't make that determination because he wasn't an investigator. There was a secondary charge of disorderly conduct which is often "tacked" on to a primary charge just to give more leeway to prosecutors when the court appearance takes place. The officer didn't even mention it when handing me the citation. (This is an arrest without being taken into custody.) At the arraignment, the prosecutor had no choice but to drop the aggressive solicitation charge in order to avoid looking very silly before the court.
A few important points; at no time did I touch the man or the woman. I never stepped in front of them or tried to impede their movement in any way. The words I spoke are the same ones I have spoken hundreds of times to many who go into PP for abortions. I offered our literature. I told of the help center on the corner, just two doors down from PP, most likely pointing toward it as I often do. I let it be known that PP keeps important information from women having abortions. The man looked to be at least ten years older than the woman, giving me the impression that there could be coercion involved in this situation (part of the reason I focused my attention on her and not him.)
My pre-trial hearing is Tuesday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the St. Paul Courthouse located at 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, Minn. If you would like to attend the hearing, stop by room 130 to see which courtroom is assigned. The judge assigned is Margaret Marrinan.
Please keep all this in prayer. My primary attorney is not a criminal defense lawyer. But he is a former City of St. Paul prosecutor. Pray for the judge and the prosecutor. Pray for me to remain at peace before God.
If you can help us with a donation at this time, please do. Funding continues to remain low as we try to eek by while doing more and more to save lives and stand against the onslaught of abortion under the Obama administration. And do know that whatever the outcome, this will not deter us from doing the good work God has called us to, saving lives proclaiming His truth. It is not coincidental that we are on a record pace for lives saved from abortion. The weeks just prior to being ordered away from PP, I was graced by God to be involved in helping save at least three babies at PP. We cannot let up.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pro-Life Action Ministries
Sincerely in Christ,
Pro-Life Action Ministries
This is serious. I Tweeted this on my feed and will link to you from my blog as well.
It sounds like his biggest problem was no witnesses for his side of things. The PP people have the clients (who were hostile in this case) and the employee. He has nobody, not even a neutral person to give a different account. Leftwing protesters know that you always have to have witnesses or better yet, somebody who can videotape your action. I think video might be illegal in this case since they could accuse you of videotaping the people going in and invading their privacy but even a partial witness would be better than none for him.
Good point, Margaret.
I know I regularly see people up on the roof of the building with cameras. So, yes, they are well versed in the laws of evidence.
let this be a lesson to all--keep your distance from those who need counseling-if they stay away move
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