Abortion Protesters Win Federal Judgment In Residential Picketing Case

City of Bellevue ordered to pay attorney fees of $125,000 and stop falsely arresting pro-lifers

Omaha, NE – Four pro-lifers have won their Federal suit against the Bellevue, Nebraska, police chief filed after repeated false arrests under a residential picketing ordinance. The City of Bellevue was ordered to pay $125,000 in attorney fees after settling the case that Federal Court Judge Richard Kopf told the City they could not win.

Greg and Mary Hansen, Roscoe Corell, and Larry Donlan of Rescue the Heartland sued after they were arrested and jailed multiple times during peaceful residential protests in 2006 and 2007 on the orders of Bellevue Police Chief John W. Stacey. In every case, they were acquitted or the charges were dismissed. [Read about one of their unlawful arrests.]

“We were repeatedly arrested and thrown in jail even though the police knew we were not breaking the law. They just didn’t care,” said Donlan, who also drives one of Operation Rescue’s Truth Trucks. “It is unfortunate that the taxpayers of Bellevue now have to pay for the police chief’s irresponsibility.”

According to the consent decree, “The Parties agree, and it is ordered, that the Defendants and their agents will not issue citations, make arrests, or file criminal charges against the Plaintiffs” unless they are actually breaking the law.

“It’s a pretty sad day when American citizens must file a suit in Federal Court to stop police from arresting them for no reason other than some obvious personal bias. The Police Chief’s actions were outrageous, to say the least,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We congratulate Mr. Donlan and the others on this victory. We trust that now the Bellevue Police will learn this expensive lesson on the First Amendment and will allow the pro-life message to be peacefully spread without further unlawful impediment.”

Read the Consent Decree and Judgment