Detroit Police Dept. Acknowledges Pro-Life Advocate’s Right to Demonstrate in Federal Lawsuit

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that a federal lawsuit it brought on behalf of Dr. Monica Miller, a pro-life activist, against the Detroit Police Department, was settled after the Detroit Police Department acknowledged in court that citizens have a right to peacefully protest on public sidewalks.  As part of the court settlement, the ticket against Dr. Miller was dismissed with prejudice and the City of Detroit agreed to pay costs to the Thomas More Law Center in the amount of $1,593.00.

The Law Center filed the lawsuit in the Detroit Federal District Court in September 2006, after the Detroit police issued Dr. Miller a ticket, told her to go home, and threatened her with arrest while she was engaging in peaceful pro-life activities. 

At the time, Dr. Miller and others were engaged in a peaceful counter-demonstration near a pro-life pregnancy center that was being picketed by pro-abortion protestors.  Miller called for police assistance when she witnessed pro-abortion protestors assaulting a pro-life protestor.  When the police arrived, they told Dr. Miller she had to march in a circle in the same area as pro-abortion demonstrators and that her pro-life poster violated Detroit’s sign ordinance.  When Miller objected, she was ticketed for violating the sign ordinance and “failing to obey a lawful order.” 

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “Monica Miller is one of those courageous Christian women imbued with the spirit of the Gospel and unafraid to proclaim her pro-life convictions regardless of the situation.”

Brandon Bolling, the Law Center’s attorney who represented Dr. Miller before the Federal District Court, commented, “Dr. Miller is pleased that the Law Center was able to protect her First Amendment rights to protect life. Our lawsuit put the Detroit Police Department on notice that there are consequences for disregarding the First Amendment rights of those who speak out on behalf of the unborn.”

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  • c-kingsley

    I Love the TMLC! I have recently started making regular donations to them. Yes, go to http://www.thomasmore.org !

  • http://www.fatimashrine.com Peter M. Calabrese

    I’m sorry this is not enough. The officer (for the action) and the police chief (gross dereliction of duty in failure to properly train officers for this sitauation and failure to properly supervise) need to be fired and the city should pay Heavy punitive damages for the civil rights violation. They are getting off with a half apology.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    This allows us to extend forgiveness, and the precedent is set for the future. I am thereby content.

  • Cooky642

    No disrespect intended, Arkanabar, but I would think that Dr. Miller ought to be the one who’s “contentment” is crucial. She was the one harrassed and threatened, after all.

    While it seems to be true that the Detroit police dept. is not taught the law they are sworn to uphold (!), I hope Dr. Miller feels confident enough to continue her pro-life activity.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    “No disrespect intended, Arkanabar, but I would think that Dr. Miller ought to be the one who’s “contentment” is crucial.”

    None taken. Since her lawyers accepted the settlement, it would seem to me that she did also. I know firsthand how absolutely vital it is for Christians to offer forgiveness easily, which is why I applaud her doing so.

    I would prefer not to ask the City of Detroit for heavy damages. That money would come from the people who pay the City’s income and property taxes, and they have enough troubles as it is.

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