Pro-life counselor arrested in Milwaukee pleads not guilty
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, January 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Lawyers for a Wisconsin pro-lifer who was arrested for disorderly conduct as he took video outside a local abortion facility entered a not guilty plea Tuesday.
The plea was entered in Milwaukee municipal court by lawyers with the Thomas More Society. James Marcou, a veteran sidewalk counselor, was charged in August after two clinic escorts at the Affiliated Women’s Heath Center claimed he was being disorderly and getting in their way outside the clinic.
“James Marcou has been doing life-saving work for years in Milwaukee without incident, and the only crime here has been committed by those who would outlaw and penalize his peaceable saving of so many human lives,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society. “We will fight this case as far as we have to in order to get simple justice for those bearing peaceful pro-life witness in Milwaukee.”
According to Marcou, he was standing outside the Affiliated Women’s Health Center in Milwaukee this past August and making a video record of peaceable sidewalk counseling and pro-life presence on the public sidewalk. One of the “clinic escorts” at the Health Center allegedly began attempting to block his view, moving back and forth as Marcou stepped from one side to the other in an effort to get a clear view of what he was taping.
When the escort persisted in doing this, Marcou says he went to step around to the right of him, whereupon the escort suddenly lurched to the side, bumping Marcou into the brick wall of the building next to the sidewalk. A female clinic escort also yelled loudly at Marcou, accusing him of getting in “people’s faces.”
The police were called and interviewed the escorts inside the clinic, but did not ask any of the pro-lifers for their side of the story, according to Marcou.
“The citizens of Milwaukee deserve better from their police department and city prosecutors,” said Brejcha. “This case is premised on a brazen perversion of the truth and so far constitutes an outrageous affront to the very notion of justice.”
The case will now be transferred to the circuit court from the municipal court.