County agrees to policy change to avoid lawsuit
WICHITA, KS — After meeting late yesterday with Operation Rescue West staff and their attorney Brian Chavez-Ochoa, Sedgwick County officials have agreed to write a new policy regarding First Amendment activities outside a popular concert venue near Wichita.
The meeting was held at the request of the County after receiving a copy of the Federal Civil Rights complaint that ORW intended to file yesterday seeking an injunction to bar the County from arresting peaceful protestors outside a county-owned arena known as the Coliseum. ORW threatened to file the suit after a number of threatening run-ins with sheriff’s deputies outside the Coliseum, including an incident where three pro-lifers were arrested and one was severely injured and required hospitalization last March.
Because the County amicably agreed to draft a policy that would protect First Amendment activity outside the venue without threat of arrest, ORW agreed not to file the lawsuit.
ORW plans to return to the Coliseum tonight from 6-7:30 PM to exercise their First Amendment rights prior to a sold out Alan Jackson Concert.
“This is a victory for the First Amendment. After meeting with the County Officials, we were able to work out a policy that will prevent any further misunderstanding from occurring during First Amendment outreaches to the people entering the Coliseum. Pro-lifers, and others who wish to express an opinion, can now do so safely and without fear of arrest. This is a win-win situation for everyone.” -Troy Newman, President Operation Rescue West
“We appreciate the professionalism of the officials of Sedgwick County who were willing to make the necessary policy changes once a problem was called to their attention. We look forward to a peaceful and productive outreach at tonight’s concert.” -Cheryl Sullenger, ORW Event Coordinator