The Acts 17 missionaries have finally gotten back their video footage from the Dearborn police. (Hey, it only took 25 days.) The lies in the police reports are shocking and are revealed by the footage.
It's really a toss-up which of the two arrest videos now available on-line is the most infuriating. I'm going to post first the one that I, personally, was most struck by, but they are both in this entry.
First, the arrest of Nabeel Qureshi for having a good conversation about Christianity with a group of Muslims. The video also contains quotations from the utterly lying police report.
Let's just start counting the lies and misrepresentations here: The police report claims that Nabeel was screaming and yelling at Muslims. False. The police report claims that there was an imminent riot. False, unless the police have ESP and/or are in cahoots with the Muslims who had secretly agreed to start a riot if desired! The video indicates no imminent, spontaneous riot but rather a mere conversation. The mayor has claimed (see video here) that Nabeel and Paul were asked to stop by the police because of a dangerous crowd and that they refused and were arrested because of their refusal. False. Numerous news outlets have inaccurately reported that they were passing out literature contrary to festival rules and were arrested in consequence. This may be the result of a confusion with another video from the next day, but at least in some cases it has been used as an actual excuse for the arrest. False. (See, Ma? No literature! Just a conversation.)
What else is disturbing about the police report? Well, how about the implication that if the crowd was yelling profanities at the missionaries (which the video does not bear out anyway) this was evidence that they were doing something wrong! Say what? Wouldn't shouting profanities be possible grounds for charging the people shouting the profanities with breach of the peace? Instead, the police report implies that if someone else is shouting profanities at you, this is evidence that you need to be arrested for breach of the peace! Welcome to the Looking-glass world of sharia.
Then there is the police report's implication that the mere fact of complaints to the police about whatever it was that the missionaries were doing is itself grounds for treating them as peace-breakers. How's that, then? If I am doing something entirely peaceful and legal and malicious people call up the police and complain about my doing it, does it automatically become illegal, as if by magic? That's pretty convenient, especially in a Muslim town. "Stop them! They're talking about Jesus on the street!"
This last point reminds me of what a friend once told me about what it was like in Poland under the Communists. He was explaining why his parents, who worked for Solidarity, had never been convicted: "You see," he said, "There was still the form of due process. You had to be convicted of working for Solidarity, and they couldn't prove it in this case. The problem was just that the things that you could get put in prison for were things that should not have been illegal." That puts it pretty well. Apparently in Dearborn, one of those things that is now de facto illegal is talking with people and answering their questions about Christianity!
And that, to me, is the thing that really brings a sense of shock when I watch this video. There is Nabeel--intelligent, articulate, calm under fire, well-prepared, utterly peaceful--talking with the Muslims around him, deflecting their hostility, keeping his good humor, and answering their questions like some experienced, top-notch college professor. This is just a conversation going on--yes, with a somewhat hostile audience, but just a conversation--on a public street, in which Nabeel is calmly explaining Christian doctrine. And the police walk up and summarily put the cuffs on him for that. If you are a Christian, this should make your hair stand on end. If you are not a Christian but you have any regard at all for American freedoms, maybe your hair should be standing on end, too. The arrest in Scotland and in England of street preachers for saying that homosexual acts are wrong is bad enough. The arrest of Christian missionaries in America for calmly discussing the deity of Jesus Christ ought to be, to an American, even more shocking.
Next up, video of the arrest of Negeen. Here are some things to notice: Notice that Negeen really is quite a ways away from David and Nabeel. Speaking for myself, I find it hard even to identify them in the video at the beginning. So anyone who was talking about discreet taping--well, she didn't have a hidden camera, but she was being pretty doggoned discreet. So much so, that Nabeel and David did not even hear what was going on and did not even know she had been arrested. The police had to seek her out, and they allege a criminal complaint against her even before she refuses to turn off the camera, apparently simply on the basis of the fact that she is videotaping and is known to be a friend and associate of David and Nabeel. That should get your blood up.
Let's count the lies in the police report: Crowd, what crowd? There certainly isn't any crowd around Negeen to be "incited" by her "yelling." Riot, what riot? What imminent riot? Nothing is happening. It's just her and the policeman freaking her out by making physical contact and trying to take her camera. (Negeen, poor girl, had evidently been taught in some course on female self-defense to "get loud" while not physically resisting if someone is touching you against your will. Or so I infer. What nobody told her is that this doesn't work if the person doing it is a cop.) How is Negeen "inciting a crowd" by her cries? You mean there is a crowd around there that is going to start attacking her because of her terribly inciting cries of, "Don't touch me! You're touching me!" and "Don't take the camera!" Wow. That sounds infuriating! The police report also implies that she was being asked to move for her own safety, but in actuality, the policeman asks her to stop taping and says that there has been a criminal complaint against her, which he does not explain. Why would she need to stop taping if they needed to move her out of the area for her safety? Think of the headlines: "Dearborn police rescue female missionary from Muslim crowd. Video at 11." They should have welcomed the video; if there was danger, they should have explained the danger to her and asked her to allow herself to be escorted away for her safety. But nothing like that happens, does it?
I find it difficult to understand why the Dearborn police and officials are continuing to prosecute this case. In my opinion, they are (in web parlance) pwned by the evidence. They don't have a leg to stand on. The smartest thing they could do would be to drop the charges and hope the Dearborn Four don't press a lawsuit in the other direction. Instead they are circling the wagons. I just hope they take more and more rope and hang themselves with it. That would be highly satisfactory.
The e-mail address for the Mayor of Dearborn is:
The e-mail address for the Michigan Attorney General (to urge him to investigate these false arrests, violation of U.S. and Michigan civil rights, and possible corruption in the Dearborn police force):
(Hint: Attorney General Cox is in a primary race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The Michigan primary is August 3, which happens to be the date for putting in evidence in this case.)
See also this page from the FBI on color of law violations of U.S. Constitutional rights. Some useful quotations with emphasis added:
U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges, prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and seize property, to bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly force in certain situations.
Preventing abuse of this authority, however, is equally necessary to the health of our nation’s democracy. That’s why it’s a federal crime for anyone acting under “color of law” willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law. “Color of law” simply means that the person is using authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government agency.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against unreasonable searches or seizures. A law enforcement official using authority provided under the color of law is allowed to stop individuals and, under certain circumstances, to search them and retain their property. It is in the abuse of that discretionary power—such as an unlawful detention or illegal confiscation of property—that a violation of a person's civil rights may occur.
Fabricating evidence against or falsely arresting an individual also violates the color of law statute, taking away the person’s rights of due process and unreasonable seizure.
Shouldn't the Thomas More lawyers be sending a complaint to the FBI for color of law violations in Dearborn?
Question: Anybody know how false arrest charges get filed? Does local law enforcement (haha) have to cooperate? How about the local prosecutor? Or is it a "do-it-yourself" process similar to filing a civil lawsuit?
Update: Thanks to reader Haecceitas for the link to the following new video. This is almost beyond belief. The police are being nice to Nabeel and David, reassuring them that they're "fine," telling them they don't need to move, even making positive physical contact with them (handshake, hand on the shoulder), when they have already arrested Negeen after claiming that there is a "criminal complaint." The mayor claims in a letter that David Wood deliberately blocked a tent entrance, knowing that he was "violating the laws" and hoping to get arrested! The video utterly contradicts this. (Notice that this video is just a few minutes before the arrest. I observe that the young man with whom Nabeel is talking here about his future plans appears to be the same Christian--presumably, a convert--for whom he is praying aloud at the beginning of the video above.)
How can the city possibly hope to get away with this?