CALGARY, Alberta, February 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life activist was arrested in Calgary on Saturday after a police officer objected to his signs, which featured images of aborted babies.
Francisco Gomez, a staff member with the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, was leading the group’s regular “Choice” Chain at a busy Calgary intersection when the officer approached and asked them to take the signs down because they were “distracting” and yielding complaints.
“You guys being here protesting abortion is not the problem. It’s the signs that are the problem. So we need the signs down,” the officer says in a video.
When Gomez refused, the officer placed him under arrest, confiscated the signs, and held him in the back of a police car.
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Before the officer arrested him, he alleged that the graphic signs violated Criminal Code provisions against obscene material. Shortly after the arrest, however, Gomez was released with a ticket for “stunting.”
Gomez told LifeSiteNews that the signs have yet to be returned. “It was clearly content-based discrimination,” he said, noting that the officer confiscated posters with ultrasound images of children in the womb as well as those with abortion images.
“That just goes to say he didn’t want us there, period,” said Gomez.
Stephanie Gray, CCBR’s executive director, told LifeSiteNews they are “appalled” at the police’s behavior, “especially because the people the police should be arresting are the people killing children.”
“It is baffling that not only are they not intervening to save the lives of children who are being killed by abortion, but they’re actually intervening to stop those who are essentially doing the police’s job for them, which is to save the lives of children who are in a vulnerable state,” she said.
Gray said that though they are always peaceful, and alert the Calgary Police before every demonstration, they have had numerous problems with officers.
A few months ago, when one of their activists was assaulted, the group called the police. But when the officer arrived, he wrote them tickets over the signs rather than tracking down the assailant. Those tickets were eventually thrown out.
“All of this requires us getting a lawyer, pleading not guilty, fighting these if it goes all the way. Kind of, we’re at the point where enough is enough,” she explained.
Gray said they have hired a lawyer and are exploring their options. “We’re hoping that this kind of public release of the injustice will put public pressure on the police to change their act,” she said.
Calgary Police Service spokesman Michael Nunn told LifeSiteNews that they are still looking into the matter. “Until we have had time to review the full circumstances, we are not in a position to comment further,” he said.
Calgary Police Service