A street preacher is suing a city in Oregon after being prevented from preaching the gospel and expressing his pro-life views.
Mark Mayberry is seeking over $300k in damages after city officials attempted to prohibit him from handing out literature and displaying a pro-life sign at Waterfront Park in Portland.
“While Plaintiff expressed views that were undoubtedly controversial to some, his speech and conduct were civil, peaceful, and by no means incendiary,” wrote Ray Hacke, Mayberry’s lawyer, in the lawsuit, according to KOIN.
“Despite being cleared to resume free speech activities at Waterfront Park without fear of penalty, Plaintiff has not returned to the park — largely due to well-founded fears that he will be cited again,” Hacke added.
On June 1, Mayberry went to Waterfront Park and began handing out pro-life leaflets and displaying a pro-life sign. Mayberry did not hand out leaflets for long, however. Soon, the activist would be approached by a park official who ordered him to leave. When Mayberry refused, the park official cited him for disobeying the order. The official also issued Mayberry with an additional citation relating to harassment. He was told that he must not return to the park for 30 days.
Deeply disturbed by the action taken against him, Mayberry challenged the citation with the Portland City Auditor and won a ruling in his favor. According to Oregon Live, the hearing officer said that the park official used “an unconstitutional application” of the local law against Mayberry. “Therefore, the park officer’s direction to stop engaging passersby with information regarding his Christian beliefs against abortion was not reasonable,” Hearings Officer William Guzman wrote. “Appellant was not required to comply with this park officer’s unconstitutional attempts to silence Appellant’s message.”
Mayberry filed a lawsuit on Friday in the U.S. District Court in Portland and is seeking $307,443 in compensatory damages from the city.
Photo courtesy: Umit Aslan/Unsplash
Will Maule is a British journalist who has spent the past several years working as a digital news editor. Since earning a degree in international relations and politics, Will has developed a particular interest in covering ethical issues, human rights and global religious persecution. Will's work has been featured in various outlets including The Spectator, Faithwire, CBN News, Spiked, The Federalist and Christian Headlines. Follow him on Twitter at @WillAMaule.