Street preachers say HPD officers harassed, detained them

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 11:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 3 at 1:37 PM

HOUSTON—Two street preachers with an anti-gay message say they believe police got out of hand earlier this week when officers confronted them during one of their road-side sermons.

“I think they were trying to send us a message,” said David Stokes. “I believe they were trying to shut us down.”

David Stokes and David Allen have been preaching the gospel for years. On Monday, they set up at the intersection of Montrose and Westheimer holding large signs and an ancient instrument called a Shofar.

“We were just spreading a word of love telling people this is a sin,” said Allen.

But police showed up after receiving a complaint. The men shot home video of the encounter, which rapidly escalated. The video shows an officer struggling with Stokes. Officers can be heard shouting at the men and telling them to calm down.

“We had a first amendment right to be here,” said Stokes.

Officers handcuffed and detained the men. They also cited them for having an illegal instrument and for displaying signs that were more than a quarter of an inch thick, which violates a city ordinance.

“Without our signs we have no voice,” Stokes said.

A police spokesperson said initially the men were combative with officers, refusing to give their IDs and disobeying commands. Both Stokes and Allen disagreed and said they plan to file a complaint with Houston Police Department Internal Affairs office. They have a court date on the citations set for Nov. 17.

 

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