STEAL PROPERTY, AND FLEE THE SCENE 12/22/03
– On December 21, five officers of the Springfield
Township Police Department arrived as Michael Marcavage,
a field preacher with the Philadelphia-based REPENT
AMERICA, was peacefully exercising free speech by
holding anti-abortion signs on a public sidewalk.
The officers subdued Marcavage by bending his hand
behind his back, which brought him to the ground. Then,
purposefully broke his two signs in front of him and
fled the scene, taking the damaged signs and swiping a
micro cassette recorder from his hand without citing or
Marcavage was standing on a public sidewalk in
Springfield, Pa. (just outside of Lansdowne where he
resides). He was facing traffic on the Baltimore
Pike with two anti-abortion signs. At
approximately 10:50AM, two police officers pulled up in
their police car, approached Marcavage, and asked what
he was doing. Marcavage explained, “I am here to
show the people driving by the reality of abortion”.
One of the officers then responded, “the sign is
pretty graphic”. Marcavage agreed and said, “I
certainly don’t enjoy holding these signs, but it
grieves my heart that over 4,000 babies are killed
everyday through abortion. People need to see this
truth.” He then told the officers that he was
willing to move to another part of the sidewalk, but the
officers dodged this when one of them asked, “What
group are you with?” Marcavage then gave them a
piece of literature with his ministry’s contact
As the discussion
went on, more police cars pulled up and one of the
officers said that he could not stand on the sidewalk.
Marcavage then asked, “Is there another sidewalk I can
go to?” The officer replied, “Not in
Springfield. They’re all owned by the
township.” Marcavage then said, “that would
make them public”.
Sergeant Purcell with
the Springfield Towship police then told Marcavage that
he is in charge and that he could not stand on the
sidewalk with his signs. Marcavage asked, “What
law am I breaking?” At this point, one of the
officers placed his hand on Marcavage’s sign and
pulled it toward him while the other officer bent
Marcavage’s hand behind his back to inflict pain,
which resulted in bringing Marcavage to the ground.
The officers then pulled Marcavage up and swiped a micro
cassette recorder from his hand, which he was using for
witnessed one of the police officers breaking the signs,
then folding them up. Marcavage ended up being
left on the sidewalk without his property, without
citation, or arrest.
this is not an isolated incident. It should be
shocking to Americans that this type of activity is
going on in our country. Now is the time that we
must not only stand up for the unborn, but also for our
children's right and duty to exercise their religion and
speech." stated Len Brown, attorney for Marcavage.