The allegations in the case sound like a Third World dictatorship: Police officers talk over before the arrests what charges they’ll use, there are no explanations when the arrests are made, the suspects are denied access to legal counsel while in custody, and cops subject suspects to semi-public strip-searches.
Only this was in Bel Air, Md., and the pro-life protesters subjected to the treatment now have brought a legal action against the officers and town for violating their Constitutional rights.
“The truth of the matter is that our clients were heckled, arrested, imprisoned, shackled, and strip-searched twice for exercising their First Amendment rights,” said attorney Daniel Cox, who is allied with the Alliance Defense Fund is serving as local counsel. “No excuse exists for how our young clients were treated.”
The lawsuit accuses Bel Air, seven police officials and Harford County of violating the rights of 18 pro-life advocates who were arrested when they held signs and shared their message along a public street. Those arrested included three young women who faced repeated strip-searches while being cited for loitering, disorderly conduct and failure to obey.