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'Sheer tyranny': Man arrested after trying to quote Bible to Pride-rally attendees — who applaud when he's put in handcuffs
Image source: YouTube screenshot

'Sheer tyranny': Man arrested after trying to quote Bible to Pride-rally attendees — who applaud when he's put in handcuffs

Cellphone video captured the moment when a man was arrested after trying to quote the Bible to Pride-rally attendees across the street from him in Reading, Pennsylvania, over the weekend.

What are the details?

The incident took place Saturday outside City Hall at 815 Washington Street where the first annual Reading Pride March & Rally was underway. Reading is about 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia.

The Lancaster Patriot covered details of the incident, reporting that the man who recorded video of the arrest is Matthew Wear, and adding that the arrestee is Damon Atkins. The outlet said it spoke to both Wear and Atkins.

Wear told the Patriot he'd been preaching to the Pride-rally attendees prior to Atkins’ arrival and was told to stop by the same police officer who later handcuffed Atkins. “A cop got in my face, laid hands on me, and threatened to arrest me if I didn’t stop," Wear says on video.

The outlet said Atkins was standing on the public sidewalk holding signs just after 10 a.m. when trouble began for him, too. Wear's video camera was on, and he captured the interaction between Atkins and the officer.

The officer — identified by the Patriot as Sgt. Bradley McClure — is standing in the street and speaking to Atkins, who is standing on the sidewalk.

“This is public property," Atkins tells the officer, who agrees it is public property but still insists that Atkins "let them have their event” and “respect it."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Atkins replies, “You know who’s cheering for us? The people that are in hell.”

The Patriot said Atkins later explained that he was referring to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke, in which a rich man begs Father Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers about the place of torment he's in.

As the officer turns and walks away, Atkins says, "So you do you, and I'm gonna do me."

With that, Atkins begins speaking, hollering "You!" across the street and then uttering the words, "God is not...," before the officer says, "That's it!" and turns back and arrests Atkins. The Pride-rally attendees applaud.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Atkins added to the Patriot that he was going to quote a portion of 1 Corinthians 14:33 — “God is not the author of confusion” — but didn't finish speaking the verse as he was being arrested.

Moments later when a handcuffed Atkins continues trying to speak to the Pride-rally attendees, the officer turns him around and walks him up against a building's outer wall.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Soon the officer walks Atkins away from the rally, as two other officers follow, and sits him on a curb while his backpack is emptied.

"Sheer tyranny," Wear — who is still recording video of everything — says about what's going down in front of his eyes.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

During this time, a Pride representative on a microphone mocks "protesters across the street" who managed to "get themselves in trouble with the police."

The crowd loves it and begins cheering. The man on the mic then urges the protesters to get "some love into that heart of yours."

Check out the video below. Atkins' arrest occurs just after the 1:50 mark:

Christian arrested in Reading Pennsylvania at a Pride March.youtu.be

What else?

The Patriot included in its report what it says is an affidavit of probable cause, which indicates the arresting officer said, “[Atkins] was carrying a sign with a slogan written on it that showed his opposition to the event.”

The outlet added that the affidavit also said the arresting officer indicated that Atkins “began to yell to the people” attending the Pride event.

“I immediately approached him and told him that, while he was free to stand on that side of the street and hold his sign, he could not cross the street nor yell comments intended to disrupt the event," the affidavit read, according to the Patriot.

The officer added that Atkins “said he understood," the outlet noted.

However, Wear's video doesn't appear to show Atkins agreeing not to "yell comments" at the Pride-rally attendees, and Atkins added to the Patriot that he never agreed to the officer's instructions.

More from the outlet:

A court document provided to The Lancaster Patriot shows that Atkins was charged with “Disorderly Conduct Engage in Fighting.”

A criminal complaint from the Reading Police Department provided to The Lancaster Patriot explains that a violation of the Disorderly Conduct statute entails “the intent to cause substantial public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior” and that Atkins “despite being warned by police just moments prior, yelled derogatory comments at an organization that was holding a permitted event.”

Anything else?

The Patriot said Atkins’ court date is scheduled for June 16, and he added to the outlet that he's hoping Alliance Defending Freedom will represent him.

TheBlaze on Tuesday reached out to Reading Police Chief Richard Tornielli for information about the incident, but he didn't immediately respond.

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