A Christian street preacher in Britain has won a case against the West Yorkshire Police Department after police arrested him in 2019 for a “hate-related public order offense.”
According to The Christian Post, a judge ruled that David McConnell will be paid $4,500 in damages in addition to his legal costs for his wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
“This was a clear breach of Mr. McConnell’s human rights and a failure to follow the laws governing arrest and detention,” The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs Simon Calvert said. “West Yorkshire did the right thing by admitting liability, and the court has issued (a) judgment in favor of Mr. McConnell.” The Christian Institute supported McConnell’s case.
The charges came after McConnell was arrested in December 2019 for “preaching on gay rights and abortion.” McConnell was preaching on the street when a passerby started asking him questions about sexuality and abortion. McConnell was arrested and held for six hours until police released him.
“I tried to give straightforward answers (to the bystanders), but they just got angrier and angrier,” he said. “They wanted to ask me about sexuality and abortion. I hadn’t been preaching about those things.
“It was them who brought the questions up. One of them obviously knew what they were doing because they called the police and claimed I’d caused ‘harassment, alarm and distress.’”
McConnell sued the police department for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of human rights.
McConnell also said that police did not tell him why they were arresting him.
“Anyone who has ever watched TV knows the police have to tell you what law you’re supposed to have broken, but these officers never did,” he said. “They just said, ‘when you get to custody, we’ll explain why you are arrested.’”
McConnell says he is now preaching in Huddersfield.
He says he has put the incident “behind him” and that he is “glad I’m able to continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Photo courtesy: Heidi Fin/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.