Monday, December 14, 2009
At least one dozen officers were called to the Cathedral by the Archbishop. In the background a "prisoner containment van" was parked on the church property in an effort to intimidate protestors.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday December 14th, 2009
POLICE HARASSMENT OUTSIDE ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL
SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI – DECEMBER 14, 2009 – For the past three Sunday’s SHOW ME NO HATE, HOLY FAMILIES COMMITTEE and THE CATHOLIC ACTION NETWORK have organized peaceful protests outside the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica on Lindell Boulevard. The 200 weekly protesters gather outside the Cathedral in an effort to send a clear message of disappointment of St. Louis Archbishop Carlson. Several weeks ago, local Catholics learned that Archbishop Carlson sent $10,000 of Archdiocese money to help veto a new Maine Pro-Marriage Equality law passed and signed by Governor John Baldacci. Many local Catholics and non-Catholics believe that money was needed right here in St. Louis.
45 Catholic Bishops across the United States, including Archbishop Carlson, together sent over $180,000 to the Maine’s Stand for Marriage Campaign. The Catholic Bishops donated the money during current economic hardship, high unemployment and when Catholic families are struggling to meet basic needs. This year alone, the St. Louis Archdiocese eliminated 6% of its administrative and educational office jobs and four positions at Catholic Charities.
On Sunday December 13th at 12:30pm, event co-organizer Ed Reggi noticed an enormous amount of St. Louis Police presence. “I saw at least a dozen more officers than the past two Sundays and I was especially surprised that a supervisor was present,” explained Reggi. What followed was a nothing short of police harassment by Police Sergeant Hurt. “He [Sergeant Hurt] told me I couldn’t be near my parked car and that I was causing a traffic disturbance with my signs. When I explained to the officer that we were not in the traffic and that we were entitled to peacefully assemble in the permitted area Hurt said he would arrest me using a city ordinance that doesn’t permit any signs that cause a traffic nuisance. Hurt also stated that our signs caused many 911 calls to the City Dispatcher,” explained Reggi.
Shortly after 1:00pm witnesses started to report that cars “honking” as they passed the Cathedral were pulled over by St. Louis Police. 52-year old, Nancy Tracy was one of those drivers pulled over along Lindell. “I was pulled over by an officer seething with hate. He was not very nice and he immediately said I broke the law by honking to my friends.” Tracy added, “Police don’t have the right to get involved at all. They should be there to protect both sides of a protest not to harass one side. I am a mother of three children and I support everything that was going on in front of the Cathedral. I’m not an activist but I will for sure be there next Sunday.”
Organizers are calling upon their members to show up in full force this Sunday December 20th Noon. “Our phones are ringing off the hook with angry upset Catholics. We’re calling on the entire St. Louis LGBT and straight ally community to stand together for Equality next Sunday. We will not be intimidated by the Archbishop or the St. Louis Police.”