P.O. Box 2105, Napa, California 94558 — 707.224.6675
NEWS RELEASE June 14, 2010
Contact: Allison K. Aranda, Staff Counsel
(951) 541-9327

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: The Life Legal Defense Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the City of Birmingham and several Birmingham police officers for the outrageous civil rights violations perpetrated against nine young people who were unlawfully arrested in February last year. The team of pro-life activists spent more than 14 hours in jail for simply holding signs and handing out literature on a public sidewalk in front of a local high school.

The lawsuit, filed in conjunction with local attorney Phillip Jauregui, seeks redress for the unlawful actions of Birmingham police officers in prohibiting peaceful free speech activity on the public sidewalk adjacent to Parker High School. The plaintiffs, members of the pro-life activist youth group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, were attempting to communicate the truth about abortion to students as they left the campus at the end of the school day. The officers told the group that the sidewalk was not a public sidewalk for them, and insisted that that they had to go across the street away from the students to hold their signs and hand out literature. When the Survivors refused to be bullied away from their audience, the police arrested all nine of the activists, including those who were only filming the unlawful actions of the police. The police also confiscated the group’s camera equipment, destroying some of the video coverage of the event, and towed their van, resulting in damage to the entire rear sensor system.

The Survivors plan to return to Birmingham this summer to participate in a series of pro-life demonstrations on the public sidewalks adjacent to public schools in and around the city. In addition to the complaint that was filed, the Survivors are seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent the City and the Birmingham Police Department from unlawfully arresting the group members for peacefully exercising their free speech rights on the public sidewalks in Birmingham when they return this summer. A hearing date for the motion will be set later this week.

“The animosity the police displayed toward these peaceful young people and their message was truly chilling,” noted LLDF Legal Director Katie Short, “and the City itself is continuing to press frivolous trespass charges against them. The City has only itself to blame that this lawsuit is necessary to vindicate the Survivors’ right to express their pro-life views on a public sidewalk.”

Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information call Allison K. Aranda at 951-541-9327.