TOWNSHIP MEETS PREACHER'S DEMANDS
FOLLOWING POLICE HARASSMENT
SPRINGFIELD, PA – The Township of Springfield, Pennsylvania has met the demands of Field Preacher Michael Marcavage with REPENT AMERICA by agreeing to pay him $2,500, settling an incident that took place on December 21, 2003. On this date, the Springfield Township Police Department arrived as Marcavage 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, 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 arresting him.
Around 10AM, 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 commented on
the graphic nature of the signs. “I certainly don’t enjoy holding these signs," Marcavage replied, "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 information.
As the discussion continued, 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 his protection.
Marcavage then witnessed one of the police officers breaking the signs, then folding them up. Marcavage was left on the sidewalk without his property, without citation, or arrest.
"The City of Springfield should be commended in this case, for after facing serious and documented allegations of unconstitutional behavior the City decided to take the high road rather than the low road. It is always refreshing when a city government pays its respect to principle rather than politics," stated Joseph Murray, Marcavage's attorney.
“It’s good that this matter has been settled. Avoiding legal entanglements whenever possible is best for everyone involved,” stated Marcavage after hearing of the township’s decision to meet the demand’s set forth in a letter from his attorney. “The Township of Springfield paid for my expenses to preach the Gospel throughout California and Nevada this past month,” he continued.