Two pro-life advocates have filed a federal lawsuit claiming one was berated as a “Jesus freak” and “extremist” and the other kicked out of Connecticut by state troopers because of their provocative anti-abortion signs.
Pro-life advocates use “Truth truck” to speak out against abortion.
After five days in Boston to demonstrate at the Democratic convention, Michael Marcavage and Dennis Green were driving a truck with panels that display large photographs of aborted children when they were pulled over by trooper David Febbraio as they approached Bridgeport, Conn., July 29.
According to Green, the officer said the vehicle could not go any further in the state until the messages were removed from the truck.
Green, citing his First Amendment rights, insisted the truck would remain as it was.
According to the two men, the trooper, Febbraio, informed Green “people should have the freedom not to look at this.”
The officer, said Green, began to “fish” for reasons to charge him, contending the men weren’t wearing seat belts. But Green contends they were in compliance. Another officer arrived on the scene, Green said, and also began to verbally attack him about the messages and images on the vehicle.
The truck is used by Green’s Virginia-based pro-life Christian group, Life and Liberty Ministries, to “communicate the truth” about abortion.
Marcavage, while attempting to videotape the discussion, was placed under arrest. Green was escorted by another state trooper to the New York state line and instructed not to return to Connecticut, the men said.
Marcavage claims while in custody he was berated continually by Febbraio as a “Jesus-freak,” a “wing-nut,” “brainwashed” and an “extremist.”
The two men are represented by the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.
One year ago, Febbraio was arrested and charged with eight counts of harassment of a disabled state police dispatcher he referred to as “Gimpy,” the AFA notes. One allegation stated Febbraio, using the home address of the dispatcher, subscribed to magazines such as Playboy and CosmoGirl!.
Febbraio described the harassment as a practical joke, according to the Hartford Courant.
“It appears that Connecticut has taken a page from Wyatt Earp’s playbook,” said Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the CLP. “This is a picture perfect example of how to mishandle First Amendment issues.”
Michael J. DePrimo, senior litigation counsel for the CLP, said his group has demanded an internal affairs investigation of the incident.