When Paul Lake, a pro-life advocate and prayer warrior in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, suffered the theft of his pro-life banner, he turned to local law enforcement to seek prosecution of the perpetrators. He was met, however, by the refusal of Tuscaloosa authorities to issue a warrant—despite an eye-witness report of the crime and appropriate identification of the perpetrators. Frustrated at the lack of response, Mr. Lake called Life Legal Defense Foundation.
As Mr. Lake explained it, he put up a banner on the public right-of-way, which he had a permit to do. He sat approximately 20 yards away from the banner. About thirty minutes later, a witness reported to Mr. Lake that the RN, who works at the abortion clinic located at 535 Jack Warner Pkwy in Tuscaloosa, and a male assistant, who also works at the clinic, removed the banner, put it in a black Lexus, and drove into the abortion clinic parking lot. Mr. Lake called the police who were able to identify the suspects.
When Mr. Lake went to the appropriate office to sign the warrant, the warrant clerk, told Mr. Lake that he could not sign the warrant. The explanation was that, according to the city’s legal team, the banner was on the city’s right of way and thus “it was not illegal for someone to take it.”
Mr. Lake was puzzled by this response and followed up with a representative from the City Attorney’s office. Following this conversation, the warrant supervisor stated that “she denied the warrant request because, in her opinion, there was no basis for criminal intent.”
LLDF’s Senior Staff Counsel, Allison Aranda, wrote a letter to the appropriate authorities in which she pointed out the fallacies of the claim that there was no basis for criminal intent and demanded that a warrant for the arrest of the perpetrators be issued. She further demanded a proper and full investigation into the matter because of evidence of potential bias. Evidence showed that the City Attorney, Christ England, is personal friends with Gloria Gray, the director of the Tuscaloosa abortion clinic. According to Ms. Aranda, “It appears as though Mr. England is attempting to protect his friends from criminal prosecution and thwarting justice for crime victim, Paul Lake.”
“We hope that the City of Tuscaloosa will do the right thing in pursuing justice for Mr. Lake, and that they will thoroughly investigate any improper bias in their City Attorney’s office,” comments Dana Cody, LLDF’s President and Executive Director. “Pro-Life speakers deserve to have their rights as citizens protected against criminal actions—even when those actions are perpetrated abortion advocates.”