The city of San Antonio has folded its ill-fated bid to prosecute a street preacher for preaching an Easter sermon on its public streets.
Jeffrey Warner frequently travels to preach the gospel on public sidewalks in various cities, but always follows local rules and regulations.
During last Easter weekend, he was in a San Antonio business district and was preaching with his amplifier, careful to be following the noise limits set by the city.
But law enforcement swarmed and arrested him, ordering him to court on their claim of a noise-ordinance violations.
Just days ago, as lawyers from the Pacific Justice Foundation were preparing for trial by submitting briefs, the city dropped its case.
Brad Dacus, president and founder of PJI, represented Warner in court, appearing at hearings and filing a trial brief that convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the case for lack of sufficient evidence, his organization revealed.
“It was an honor for me to represent and vindicate the rights of a faithful witness for Jesus Christ. It is vital that we preserve the right in America and hold to a commitment to publicly proclaim the good news of the Gospel,” he said.
Warner first had been warned by police against preaching with a sound amplifier but the officers threatening him were unable to provide Warner with the law they relied on.
The next day Warner and several other preachers were told by officials to stop using amplification, which prompted Warner to insist that law enforcement provide him with a law.
“An officer arrived at the scene with a printed copy of the city’s noise ordinance and threatened to confiscate the amplifier to use as evidence at trial. However, the officers indicated they did not believe that Warner’s amplification surpassed the decibel level limit,” the legal team explained.
He was cited the next day, Easter, even though “law enforcement did not approach or cite any of the various other amplifications used on nearby street corners, including a group of break dancers with a loud boombox.”
PJI explains it’s a growing problem as cities clamp down more and more on free speech protected by the Constitution, but viewed by others as unwelcome.
It has fought similar battles in Pennsylvania, Washington state, and Michigan in just the last few months.
See Warner’s reaction after the case was dropped: