Bel Aire Backs Off Truth Truck Prosecution
Bel Aire, Kansas — In a surprise move during a rare evening court hearing, the city prosecutor of Bel Aire, Kansas, dropped misdemeanor charges on Wednesday against Operation Rescue West President Troy Newman for violating the exclusive community’s building code banning portable signs. Newman had been arrested by the city’s building inspector in January after parking the Truth Truck bearing graphic images of aborted babies in the neighborhood of Carrie Klaege, an employee of late-term abortionist George Tiller of Wichita. He had faced up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
Confident that the city’s interpretation of the building code violated the First Amendment guarantee to Free Speech, Newman had vowed to fight the case and threatened civil litigation against the suburb of Wichita for Constitutional Rights violations.
In fact, Newman drove the Truth Truck, freshly adorned with new signs that replaced recently vandalized ones, to City Hall for his court appearance.
Allegations of selective prosecution based on the controversial content of the Truth Truck’s message surfaced after ORW staffers photographed no less than 14 other similar vehicles displaying commercial messages parked on the streets of Bel Aire unmolested by police and building inspectors.
Dismissal of the case leaves open the ability for the Truth Truck to return to Bel Aire as early as today.
“This was not just a victory for the Truth Truck, but for everyone in our nation. Today, Americans are free to travel down any public street in any community, voicing their opinion on issues that matter to them, including abortion, without fear of bullying or arrest. The First Amendment has prevailed in Bel Aire, and we intend to continue to aggressively exercise the precious freedoms it protects.” -Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue West
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