NARRATIVE OF ARREST ON JULY 22, 2006
OUTSIDE OF WRIGLEY FIELD
On July 22, 2006, our ministry was present outside of Wrigley Field stadium in Chicago, IL for the purpose of ministering the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people attending the “Gay Games” closing ceremonies. This event was scheduled to start at 3 p.m., and therefore, our ministry arrived in advance (around 1 p.m.) to reach out to those who would be entering the stadium via open-air preaching, individual conversation, and literature distribution. As I stood on the public sidewalk facing the stadium with a sign stating that Jesus’ definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, I was approached by security officials from the stadium who demanded that I, and the other members of our group, leave the area and go across the street. I explained to them that it was a public sidewalk and that we had the right to be there. They left, and soon a police officer arrived and told me to cross the street, and I explained that I would not be able to effectively reach out to the people attending the event from across the street. He left without further demands.
During my brief time at this location, I was approached by Ryan Murphy who was with our ministry. He told me that a police officer was acting irrationally near Wrigley Field’s Gate D where he was ministering. I explained to him that I would go down and evaluate the situation. I walked down the sidewalk toward the area with my video camera active. I recorded others engaged in expressive activities, which included a man distributing handouts about a documentary, a person waving a homosexual pride flag, and another man speaking against President Bush to the attendees of the event. Soon, I was approached by an officer, which I later came to know as Sergeant Gerardo Teneyuque. Sergeant Teneyuque was extremely hostile toward me and told me that the sidewalk was not open to the First Amendment, and that I needed to go across the street. I told him that I have a right to be on the public sidewalk and that I was not blocking anyone. I continued to take video footage of the area. I walked a few yards to where a man was speaking against the policies of President Bush and had a sign setup which aided him in his presentation. Directly next to this man was a female, uniformed police officer who was purchasing a pro-homosexual t-shirt from a street vendor who was also standing in the area. When she saw me with the video camera, she quickly finished the exchange with the vendor and hid the t-shirt behind her back and then moved out of sight. I asked the man what he was selling and he told me about his pro-homosexual products, along with pricing.
At this point, I decided that the video footage I had recorded was important to protect, so I went across the street to where Jim Deferio was standing and obtained another tape from him. I then returned to the side of the street where the stadium was and walked around the area with my sign, continuing to video. As I stood on the public sidewalk facing the stadium, Sergeant Teneyuque immediately approached me again and began to tell me to go across the street. I once again told him that I have a right to stand where I was, but he refused to hear it. Because I refused to go across the street, he began to shove me by thrusting his chest at me and by pushing me. I stood still, and as a result, I fell to the ground as he became more aggressive. I was then arrested and placed in a police car when it arrived.
While in the police car in handcuffs, I managed to make a phone call to 911 to explain what happened. I told the operator that I was arrested for simply exercising my First Amendment rights. I further explained that I was using a video camera to record the exchange between myself and the officer, but was concerned about its safety since we already had a video tape stolen by police. I asked that the supervisor be informed of the situation, and that the video camera and tape be secured. However, I never did hear from a supervising officer. I was kept in the backseat of the hot, police car for approximately 15-20 minutes prior to departing the area.
While being driven to the police station, the transporting officer was smoking and refused to provide me with his name. I was then taken into the 19th District and escorted from the police car into the building and then to the front desk. After the transporting officer was finished speaking with Desk Sergeant Evangelos Hitiris, and prior to me being taken away, I told all those present in the front desk area that there is a video of what happened and that I wanted to make sure it is secure. Sgt. Hitiris stated that he did not care, and then asked the others present if they cared. Some responded in a sarcastic tone by saying “I care.” I was then taken into a room and handcuffed to a metal bench.
As I waited in the room, I sung hymns and prayed. I waited patiently for many hours and remained handcuffed to bench. During my time in this holding room, Officer Gerardo Madrigal and Sgt. Gerardo Teneyuque occasionally entered to use the computer with each of them coming and going a various times. At one point, Officer Madrigal asked me how to spell “fornication” as he was tying information into the computer. I responded and asked why he needed the spelling of that word. I became aware at some point that I was being charged with disorderly conduct for obstructing someone. I expressed to Sgt. Teneyuque that this is simply not true, and that he was concocting a story in attempt to justify his illegal behavior. He told me that he has a complainant, and that I got into an “argument” with this person. I told him that this is baseless and the video speaks for itself. I told him that the only person I was arguing with was him about my right to stand on the public sidewalk. I then asked Sgt. Teneyuque why he didn’t arrest the other person since he was supposedly arguing with me, and he responded by saying that he was dealing with one person at a time. During this exchange, he referred to my message as “hate”.
After Sgt. Teneyuque left the room, I questioned Officer Madrigal about the charge, and asked him why he was completing the report and why he was considered to be the “arresting officer” since I had no discussion with him prior to my arrest. He said that Sgt. Teneyuque is his boss and that he was doing as he had been instructed. I expressed to him my concern over his involvement, explaining that he knew that the charge was baseless. Officer Madrigal went silent at this point. I then asked why he was choosing to pursue this charge against me. He told me that he has a family and needs to put food on the table. I told him that he is not obligated to follow Sgt. Teneyuque’s directive to charge me if the charge is false. He stated that he did not want to lose his job, and repeated himself about his family and the need to put food on the table. At one point, Officer Madrigal asked me if I knew Deputy Chief Dugan’s first name. I told him that I didn’t know who he is, but he insisted that I did. Upon further contemplation, I did remember who he was since I had a brief encounter with him during the opening ceremonies of the “Gay Games” at Soldier’s Field, which related to problems with his officers interfering and harassing people affiliated with our group. Officer Madrigal told me that Dugan “doesn’t like you” and that he said that I’m “bad news.” I asked him why, but he did not go into further detail. However, he did say that the arrest was prompted, at least in part, by Deputy Chief Dugan. I asked Officer Madrigal how this could be since we were in a different police district of Chicago. He explained that Sgt. Dugan was working under the direction of the Police Superintendent and the Mayor, having been assigned to handle all the affairs of the “Gay Games.”
After hearing of these new accusations, my concerns over the video camera and tape were renewed. Therefore, I asked the officer if I could speak with the Watch Commander. They ignored my request so I called out to speak with him. A female officer came to the door and told me that he would speak with me after roll call was finished, but he never came. At one point, due to my ongoing concerns over the video, Sgt. Teneyuque had Officer Madrigal pull the video camera from underneath the table where he was sitting, which appeared to be on his lap. I asked why my property was not secured, and why it was in their possession for nearly 5 hours. I asked if I could see if the tape was still in it. Sgt. Teneyuque opened the camera and showed that the tape was still inside, and then closed the tape door. I asked him if the battery could be removed from the back of the video camera, but he refused, and took it out into the hallway. I was informed that the video camera was going to be put into inventory, but this is the last time I saw it. Earlier on, I was told that the video camera was going to be put into my property bag with my other things, but after I had the discussion about the video camera with the officers, Sgt. Teneyuque decided to put it into inventory, citing that someone had sealed my property bag as an excuse. Overall, this behavior was extremely suspicious since I did not see Sgt. Teneyuque for several hours after being handcuffed to the bench in the holding area, and nearly 5 hours later, the video camera was still in their possession, which would not be returned to me when I was released. I made a final attempt to call out again for the Watch Commander since I wanted the video camera secured and included with my personal property, but my calls were ignored.
When Sgt. Teneyuque took the video camera out into the hallway, the door remained open for a few moments as the officers walked in and out of the room, and I saw one of the officers carrying the sign I was holding at the time of my arrest. At one point, I saw Sgt. Hitiris in the hallway holding it up and pointing to the wording of marriage equaling “one man + one woman” according to Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6, and joked with the other officers in the hallway by saying “one man, plus two women, equals fun.”
At approximately 7 p.m., I was taken from the holding area, down a hallway, and into a processing area. The man at the desk was smoking a cigarette while he asked me questions, and then I was told to go over to a machine to have my photos taken. At this time, another officer instructed me on where to stand, but prior to doing so, he began to mock my beliefs and started to pose sarcastic questions about God’s existence and about Jesus Christ’s death, which continued throughout the booking process. After taking my photos and fingerprints, I was permitted to make a phone call. After doing so, the man behind the desk, who was smoking earlier, continued to play off the remarks of the officer who took the photographs, making remarks concerning polygamy and about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and having a sexual relationship with her. This officer also told me that my friends were gathered outside asking why I was being held. He told me that he responded to them by saying that “it’ll be awhile longer because we’re doing anal probing.” He then laughed and commented about the reaction he received. I was then placed in a cell for the next 3 hours until being released at 9:35 p.m.
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