Milwaukee Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselor Vindicated: False Charges Dropped
March 28, 2011
MILWAUKEE, (christiansunite.com) -- Today in Milwaukee municipal court, the Thomas More Society secured justice for a pro-life sidewalk counselor who was falsely arrested and charged with disorderly conduct last August. James Marcou, a veteran sidewalk counselor, was charged after two clinic escorts at the Affiliated Women's Heath Center claimed he was disorderly and obstructed free access to the abortion facility by striking a "clinic escort."
"James Marcou can now carry on his life-saving work without this criminal charge hanging over his head," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society. "The city prosecutor dismissed the charge when the key complaining witness failed to honor the city's subpoena that he appear this morning to testify at an initial hearing before a city judge. Indeed, we had learned that this witness, known to pro-lifers as Gwynn and who regularly works as a patient 'escort,' gave police a false name -- Steve Smith -- and was subpoenaed to appear by that name. No wonder he didn't show up, as not only his name but also the rest of his story was falsified, and the whole truth would have come out clearly."
The background of this case is that Marcou was standing outside the Affiliated Women's Health Center in Milwaukee last summer and making a video recording of peaceable sidewalk counseling and pro-life presence outside the clinic. One of the "clinic escorts" at the Health Center tried to block his view, moving back and forth as Marcou stepped from one side to the other to avoid any conflict. The escort -- Gwynn, a/k/a Steve Smith -- persisted, lurched at Marcou and forced him into a brick wall. When the police arrived they interviewed the escorts inside the clinic, but they omitted to ask any of the pro-lifers for their side of the story.
"The police should have investigated all the facts before filing these false charges. Indeed, charges of assault and battery should have been filed against the clinic workers. Instead, Milwaukee police and city prosecutors charged the innocent pro-lifer," said Brejcha. "Our client has been vindicated and Milwaukee authorities have been put on notice to chase criminals, not life savers."