Jul 8, 2010

Evangelists Plead 'Not Guilty' to False Charges for Preaching Christ at Philadelphia's Largest Mosque



PHILADELPHIA - Two Christian evangelists pled "not guilty" yesterday to false charges relating to their arrest for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ at Philadelphia's largest Islamic mosque over the Fourth of July weekend. Their case now heads to trial.

On the night of Saturday, July 3rd, evangelist Michael Marcavage of Repent America (RA), and evangelists Ken Fleck and Mike Stockwell were compelled by God to witness at "Masjid Al Jamia" in Philadelphia. Upon arrival, they sang a hymn and began their outreach activities of open-air preaching and witnessing to the Muslims on the public sidewalk that were leaving the building. However, as they ministered, the evangelists were soon approached by a security officer from the University of Pennsylvania who told them that they could not preach on the public sidewalk outside of the mosque. When Marcavage stated that they were not leaving, the security officer radioed university police.Within minutes, a swarm of security and police officers descended upon the evangelists. One of the officers, Nicole Michel, immediately confronted Marcavage, who was videotaping the situation, and assaulted him by grabbing his hand and forcibly turning off his video camera. The officer's demeanor then escalated into extreme hostility to the point that Marcavage became concerned and called 911 to ask for a supervising officer to come to the scene. When Officer Michel saw Marcavage videotaping the situation again, she declared, "He's going [to jail]," and placed him in handcuffs while another officer stated, "All three of them are going." When the supervising officer, Sergeant Andrew Malloy, finally arrived, he consented to the evangelists' arrests. Marcavage and Fleck were subsequently taken into custody. Stockwell, however, was not arrested, but was commanded to leave immediately. As he left the scene, he heard Officer Michel stating, "I'm concerned about what's on the video" to another officer. The video camera was not brought into the police station with the evangelists' other belongings.

After the evangelists were released from jail and their belongings were returned, they discovered that police destroyed their video evidence by completely recording over the footage that had been captured. The mosque's video surveillance, which is being subpoenaed for trial, will hopefully be produced and show the unlawful actions of police.

"Hostility is rising against Christians in America and police interference with the proclamation of the Gospel is now commonplace, which will only continue to escalate with the rise of Islam," Marcavage stated. "Regardless of those who wish to silence and harm us, we will be faithful in preaching the cross of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation," Marcavage concluded.
Marcavage and Fleck have been charged with two summary offenses for preaching "disorderly conduct" and "obstructing a highway." A trial date is set for August 10th at 9:00 a.m. in Philadelphia Community Court, 1401 Arch Street, 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

"And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant unto Thy servants that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word ..." - Acts 4:29

A CALL TO ACTION: Don't let these officers get away with their unlawful and egregious behavior without your voice of opposition! Please act by doing the following:

1) Pray that these evangelists would be completely vindicated of these false charges.

2) Contact Maureen Rush, Vice President of Public Safety at the University of Pennsylvania, and respectfully but firmly express your disgust over the behavior of Officer Nicole Michel and ask that she be terminated for her outrageous actions as she is a danger to public safety. Also, request that Sergeant Andrew Malloy be disciplined for his unlawful handling of the situation by violating the civil rights of the evangelists.

Address: Maureen Rush
Vice President of Public Safety
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Public Safety
4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-7515
E-mail: mrush@publicsafety.upenn.edu

3) Contact Mark Dorsey, the Chief of Police at the University of Pennsylvania, and similarly state your outrage at the actions of Officer Nicole Michel and Sergeant Andrew Malloy.

Address: Mark Dorsey
Chief of Police University of Pennsylvania
Department of Public Safety
4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-4483
E-mail: mdorsey@publicsafety.upenn.edu

Sample comment: "I am disturbed by Officer Michel's abusive treatment of the three evangelists who ministered outside of the Masjid Al Jamia Islamic mosque over the Fourth of July weekend. Moreover, I am especially concerned that Officer Michel unlawfully tampered with evidence to cover up her actions. I would encourage your department to promptly investigate her behavior on the night of July 3rd, and that she be subsequently terminated for her outrageous, dangerous and illegal behavior. Sergeant Andrew Malloy's actions were also improper and inappropriate in consenting to the arrests of the evangelists, and he should be disciplined accordingly."
4) Forward this message to your family and friends!

 
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