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AND ONE OF THEM WAS AN 11-YEAR-OLD BOY!
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 22, 2011) — Theresa Cao, who was arrested after shouting out “Except Obama! Except Obama!” during the reading of the U.S. Constitution on January 6, 2011, recently met several missionaries who traveled from Southern California to Washington, DC to preach on Capitol Hill against what they see as the horrors of abortion.
Ms. Cao detailed how she met the three activists and similarities she sees in their respective court cases. She stated that they will be demonstrating together in the coming days and weeks.
It was March 17, the two-year anniversary of the criminal complaint which Walt filed. My plan was to go toward Capitol Hill with a handwritten letter addressed to Rep. Joe Wilson to confirm that he was never arrested nor charged after shouting out “You lie!” while listening to Obama give a speech about his health care plan.
His staffer told me that the exact date was September 9, 2009. I forgot to include the incident in my Motion to Dismiss, but I can include an addendum indicating this particular fact.
I had photos taken of me next to Rep. Wilson’s office, so I have that proof, which I will put out on my Facebook page.
There were crowds and crowds of people because Obama’s entourage had just arrived at Capitol Hill. This was the fifth time this has happened during my five years in Washington, DC.
I met Tony and Rives in front of the Library of Congress. They had pro-life signs, and I began speaking with them. I met Tony first and later Rives, down the road. He was recently arrested for exercising his free speech and has now six or seven charges against him cumulatively. So now, they have a restraining order against him.
Cao explained that there are certain areas designated as “Free Speech” areas in Washington which measure a certain square footage. She stated that Pastor Rives was standing in one of those areas but said that “This particular pastor was arrested for preaching the Gospel and for saying that Obamacare funds abortion. And he hasn’t been able to get his story out at all.”
Cao stated that the missionaries will be in Washington, DC “for over a month…They drove from Southern California as a result of what happened to them, and Jesus hooked us up!” She said that the three missionaries heard about her case after arriving in Washington, and that “they are involved in the exact same court system I’m involved in…500 Indiana Avenue, NW. Their court appearance is on April 20. I said I would go and support them and even testify for them, and they said they are coming to support me on my court date on April 12. It should really put the local people to shame; here are friends from 3,000 miles away who will be supporting me, and others who are a couple of seconds away couldn’t even be bothered.”
Cao described the missionaries’ arrest as “exactly like my scenario; a First Amendment rights issue, but the police have tried to clamp down on them. His rights have not been upheld innumerable times.”
Cao stated that “As Obama was leaving, we had an audience of people, so Tony starting preaching about ‘abortion is sin,’ and afterward, I was able to also talk about Obama, and I used the “T’ word, ‘Treason.’ There were hundreds of people.”
Cao said that she has the event on video and will send it to The Post & Email as soon as possible. After Obama’s security detail had passed, she reported that she continued on to Rep. Joe Wilson’s office to deliver her letter while the three preachers continued their mission in front of Capitol Hill. Of their chance meeting, she said, “I have tons of pictures of that, too, and it was pretty amazing…this perfect connection!”
Pastor Rives gave The Post & Email his account of his arrests which occurred in Washington, DC as he was preaching.
MRS. RONDEAU: Could you tell me how you feel your First Amendment rights were violated?
PASTOR RIVES: It started in November 2006. At that time, the Supreme Court was deciding the partial-birth abortion case. I had been campaigning two months prior in South Dakota, which was going to be the first state to ban abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, allowing a two-week grace period. While I was campaigning out there, the measure failed; they did not outlaw it.
Right after that, I made it to the Supreme Court during the partial-birth abortion debate. I was supposed to stay inside during the hearing, and I wanted the nine justices to hear the Word of the Lord that I had. So about 40 minutes into the oral arguments, I got on my knees and I prophesied; I preached as loud as I could: “Abortion is the shedding of innocent blood, thus saith the Lord!” They began to pull me out, and I said, “Jesus said, ‘Unless you repent, you will perish.’ And the miracle is, to me, that when they pulled me out, I had a vision that I would preach as long as I could to those justices, because they needed to hear the Word of the Lord to repent.
So as they were pulling me out, I grabbed a chair, and the force of the police officers pulling me out tipped the chair over. They pulled me out, and then, lo and behold (there were over 300 people in that room), the one person who was sitting in that chair, which I didn’t know, was the abortion doctor himself who was bringing the case before the trial.
They pulled me out, but I continued to preach in the hallway. Then they got me out of the hallway and I ended up going to jail and doing 14 days there.
MRS. RONDEAU: What was the charge?
PASTOR RIVES: There were two charges; they said that exercising my free speech in the courtroom was against the law. They said that when the chair tipped over and that I had assaulted the doctor who had been sitting on it. The problem is that all I did was grab the chair; it was their force which pulled me out of the courtroom. It was the police force that made the chair tip over and the man fall.
They got me to court and threatened a lot of possible time in jail, and I ended up pleading guilty because I did grab the chair and it tipped over. So I took partial responsibility for that.
MRS. RONDEAU: Were you hurt?
PASTOR RIVES: I was kind-of roughed up a little bit, but there were no long-term injuries.
MRS. RONDEAU: That’s good.
PASTOR RIVES: Not that time. Are you familiar with what partial-birth abortion is?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
PASTOR RIVES: That’s when the baby has been in the womb for nine months and they take it halfway out, stick a needle in its head, suck the brains out and kill the baby. That was legal prior to November 2006; that was being practiced. So the good news is that five of those justices heard the Word of the Lord that day and they banned partial-birth abortion. But all that means is that at nine months, you can’t take the baby out and stick a needle in it, but they can still do a regular abortion in which they kill the baby in the womb. Certain states restrict it on different levels by trimester.
So I did two weeks in jail after that.
Are you familiar with Obamacare, which supports taxpayer funding of abortions?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
PASTOR RIVES: In 2009, they passed Obamacare in the Senate on Christmas Eve. At that time, my wife, son two daughters and I came to DC, and that’s when we started protesting. We went inside the rotunda between the Senate and the House. We were on a tour, and we had signs about the babies; we actually had a baby doll symbolizing the babies that were being murdered. Over 50,000,000 babies have died from abortion; that’s about 3,500 a day; 1,300,000 are killed every year. Even as we speak, the Senate still wants to give Planned Parenthood money, over $300,000,000 a year to keep killing the babies.
So we started that back then. My son and I both preached in the rotunda. Of course, they dragged me out and arrested me. All we did was preach, exercise our freedom of speech. Everyone else has freedom of speech in that place, but when we started talking about the babies, they pulled me out and arrested me.
I went on the steps of the Senate on two occasions and preached, exercising my freedom of speech. They used to let you go on the steps of the Senate, from my understanding, but now I guess they don’t let you. They arrested me twice and put me in jail. While I was there, they were telling me that I cannot use the word “abortion.”
MRS. RONDEAU: Really?
PASTOR RIVES: Yes, the Capitol police said, “You cannot use that word.” And I said, “That is censorship, and I’m going to continue to use it.”
Then they brought me out just below the steps in what they said was a Free Speech zone. So I went out and had a baby doll covered in red food coloring. We have this illegal arrest on video. I was preaching, and this baby was representing the 50,000,000 babies that have been killed. The officer came up to me and said something to the effect of “That is going to offend people.” And I said, “Well, it doesn’t matter if it offends people. This is freedom of speech.”
They let me go for a little bit, and then they came and arrested me. It’s on tape. They got me to jail, and then they switched up; they said, “Well, you know what, Mr. Grogan? We didn’t arrest you today; this won’t go on your record,” and I said, “That’s a lie. You did arrest me; you handcuffed me and you brought me down here.” So the officer said, “Well, we’re not pressing charges.” I said, “OK, you’re not pressing charges, but you still arrested me.” So they ended up dropping the charges on that case. But they kept the charges on the other case.
When Obama did a health-care summit in February of last year, we were out there in the free speech zone on the sidewalk preaching. I believe the Tea Party people were there, and we were all going strong. We kept saying, “KILL THE BILL! KILL THE BILL!” It was just an enormous anti-Obama demonstration. Well, the police wanted to break that up, so they came and said, “We want all of you to move across the street.” We were on a public sidewalk which had already been declared a free speech zone. So I kept preaching; I stayed there as an act of civil disobedience on my knees preaching, and of course, they arrested me.
When they did so, they put me in a van and took me to the police station. On the way, someone ran a red light, and in my paddy wagon, they slammed on the brakes. I had no seat belt, and I went flying through the paddy wagon and slammed my head, which began to bleed.
I requested to go to the hospital. When we got there, the officer said, “Well, you were supposed to grab the rope.” And I said, “Grab the rope? You never told me to grab the rope!” and he said, “Well, yeah, we did.” And I said, “You lie! You never told me to grab that rope.” Then he went silent and didn’t say it again.
They made me go to jail then, too. Thank God that I have a pro-life lawyer, Atty. Brian Chavez, who is an affiliate with the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ). So he has taken on my defense in all these cases. I have a trial on April 20.
First, they did a plea bargain with me on those four. They said, “We’ll tell you what: if you stay out of Washington, DC, from the Capitol and the White House for one year, we will give you a delayed judgment,” which means that it would go off of my record as if it never happened. So I agreed to it. That happened last July, and almost a whole year went by. Then defunding Planned Parenthood started coming down, and I knew I had to go back.
So I went back there and was prepared to stay outside of the restraining order. We got up there and began to preach outside of the restraining order, and they came up and said, “You’re still in the restraining order, but let me call my supervisor.” They called the higher-ups of Washington, DC; I have two witnesses. They then came back and said, “You know what? Your restraining order has been lifted. You can go preach.”
So we went back and we began to preach: my eleven-year-old son, Rives; another gentleman, Richard Lawson, and me. I’m a street preacher, so I preach very loudly. There’s a spot where you can preach right by the Capitol, and it just echoes. There’s a tunnel where it ties in and just echoes. We were doing that, and the message was getting heard. We were demanding, “John Boehner, do not waver. Not one penny of taxpayer money.”
As I was doing that, my son started preaching. This is the amazing thing; you can look this up online, too. He was preaching while they were doing a news conference in the grass in front of the Capitol building; the news conference was by Kathleen Sebelius, the pro-abortion secretary. She is supposed to be saving babies, not be pro-abortion.
I had signs on me, front and back which said, “Abortion is the shedding of innocent blood” and “Save the babies.” So I went and walked right in the middle of the news conference. All the cameras were on there. I turned around, showed them the signs – they were kind-of stunned a little bit – then a big guy with an M16 started coming at me. So I ran away, back to where I had been preaching, and they let me keep preaching. But then I asked my son if he wanted to go preach there, and he did. As he was preaching, this woman officer came up to him and said, “If you don’t stop preaching, you’re going to jail.”
My son knows his First Amendment rights, so he continued to preach. She was intimidating him, harassing him, but he continued to preach. While she was busy with him, I went back into the news conference, went in the middle of it again – this time I think I was on my knees – and I began preaching, exercising my freedom of speech. There was no sign saying that you couldn’t go in there. So then the officers plowed me over. This is right on camera. They must have had 15 or 20 cameras. They plowed over me, drove me into the ground, and I was sitting there saying, “I’m not resisting; I’m not resisting.” And they handcuffed me.
Afterward, I think they became afraid because they made a mistake. That force was not necessary. I think they got scared because of the way they did it, and they came back and said, “You know what? We’re not charging you with anything. You’re free to go; we’re not charging you.” So I ended up getting up and preaching some more.
The next day, my son was on the steps preaching. The rule is that “protesters” can’t go there. So Rives took off his sign; he was no longer going to be a protester holding a sign. He just wanted to exercise his freedom of speech because there was a large group of people there, and because of his short size, he needed to elevate himself. So he got on the steps and started preaching.
Then, all chaos broke loose. They came up and told him he was going to go to jail – an eleven-year-old! The crowds were growing, and they didn’t have the nerve to take him down. Some other people were getting pictures, and we were preaching. There were two senators I confronted: one was a pro-life senator and one was a pro-abortion senator. I said, “Senator, which one of these babies do you want to kill because of your pro-choice views?” He ended up just ignoring me, but I was making such a stir that he finally ended up leaving because he realized it was bad publicity for him. The other senator was pro-life and supportive; we gave him the blessing of God for standing up.
But then, when they left, all of a sudden they switched. For days, they gave us free speech right in the free speech zone. Then, right after that, they had these officers lined up to stop us from going to the free speech area. Twenty-one or 22 officers were there. So I went back and forth trying to get to where we had been, but they had it blocked off. I took one or two steps forward, and I just preached, and way away from where I was preaching, as I preached, they came and tackled me to the ground, handcuffed me, arrested me, brought me to jail, and then they gave false information.
All the newspapers destroyed my character by saying that I assaulted a police officer, and that was character assassination. I had three witnesses there, and I didn’t lay a finger on an officer. But they assassinated my character, said that I assaulted him, and it hit all the newspapers: “Mr. Grogan is charged with assaulting an officer.”
They got me to court, and then they knew they couldn’t win it, because I didn’t lay a finger on them, so they dropped the assault and charged me with disobeying a direct order and unruly conduct – something that was vague that they can’t do. They also tried to get me put in jail until my trial, saying that I violated the restraining order, and I said, “Judge, two of the officers told me that we did not have a restraining order, that it was lifted.”
So the judge said, “I’m going to give Mr. Grogan the benefit of the doubt.” He wasn’t going to put me in jail until April 20. So the prosecutor was lying when he said they hadn’t told me that it was lifted. That was why the judge asked them, “Well, if he had a restraining order, why did you let him free for two or three days before you made that arrest?” It didn’t make any sense, so he gave me the benefit of the doubt.
The next day, I went back to preach, fully intending to stay out of the restraining area. They give you a map that’s shaded in and says you can’t go on the Capitol. So I didn’t take one step on the shaded-in area. I guess the fine print with the streets has an imaginary two-block radius even beyond the shaded-in areas. I told my attorney, who said, “This is confusing for me, and I’m a lawyer. The shaded-in area says you can go here; you didn’t violate that.” We made the prosecutor put a yellow line around the whole thing, and she said, “They should throw this out.” They didn’t put this with all my other cases; now they had me in a U.S. court trying to get me for contempt and violating a restraining order.
Editor’s Note: Part 2 of Mr. Grogan’s story, including the account of his 11-year-old son, will be published within the next 1-2 days.