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Federal Court Allows Religious Liberty Case to Go Forward Against the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Officers

by Staff
March 24, 2010
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WASHINGTON, ( -- This week, Federal Judge William T. Hart of the United States District Court, North District of Illinois, is forcing the City of Chicago to answer for what plaintiffs Pastor Frank Teesdale and members of Garfield Ridge Baptist Church contend is the City's unconstitutional prohibition of their religious exercise and speech at City of Chicago Special Events.

"The City of Chicago should not be allowed to prohibit evangelism on the public streets during public events. Pastor Teesdale and his church understand that their instructions and right to tell people of the new life available through Jesus are God-given and U.S. Constitution-protected. No one needs a City of Chicago permit to tell people of Jesus's offer of forgiveness and healing," said Plaintiffs' attorney Andy Norman of Mauck & Baker.

The court also allowed Pastor Teesdale to proceed on his claim that he was falsely arrested on July 12, 2008 at the public St. Symphorosa Family Fest. It was on that day that Pastor Teesdale along with a few others from Garfield Ridge began discussing Jesus with those walking up and down the public streets. Not too long after they began sharing Jesus' message of repentance and forgiveness of sins, Chicago police officers approached them and told them they could not be there without a permit.

Knowing that they were on public streets at a public event, Pastor Teesdale referred to their rights under the First Amendment and began to key his megaphone. Before he could even speak through the megaphone it was grabbed out of his hand, and he was placed under arrest. Teesdale was arrested and charged with "criminal trespass to property" even though he was on public property. The criminal case against Pastor Teesdale was dismissed in May 2009 when the City of Chicago failed to prosecute.

"What more appropriate place than a Church-sponsored festival held on the public streets to talk to people about Jesus?" asks Pastor Teesdale.

A copy of the judge's order (case number 09 - C4046) is available at: of-Chicago.

About Mauck & Baker
Mauck & Baker works with congregations and individuals in every aspect of the exercise of their religious liberties and ministries, including negotiations, administrative proceedings and litigation in state and federal courts. Mauck & Baker represents houses of worship, other religious organizations and individual believers in complex zoning proceedings and other litigation with counties, cities and villages for the protection of their constitutional rights.

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