Moscow, Idaho, is finally admitting they were wrong in arresting Christians for attending an outdoor worship service without masks back in 2020 – or at least they are settling a lawsuit and paying out $300,000 to those wrongfully put in cuffs.
According to The Spokesman-Review, Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet were arrested in September of 2020 while attending an outdoor “Psalm sing” protest in front of city hall. Law enforcement took the Bohnets, a married couple, and Rench into custody for not following the city’s masking and overall COVID-19 guidelines.
Initially, the three were charged with resisting arrest (for not wanting to show their ID) and violating the city’s pandemic policies, KTVB-TV in Boise reported.
However, in January 2021, those misdemeanor charges were dropped by a county judge.
Knowing they had been wrongfully arrested, the three filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated.
To be sure, they were.
These people were simultaneously expressing their speech, religion, and right to protest. And all three were violated.
The city, of course, wanted to have the entire case thrown out and dismissed. But US District Judge Morrison C. England Jr rejected that motion.
Instead, he noted that the city was indeed wrong to arrest the three. It not only violated their Constitutional rights but also overlooked key language in the city’s Emergency Powers Ordinance.
“Plaintiffs should never have been arrested in the first place, and the constitutionality of what the City thought (its) code said is irrelevant. Somehow, every single City official involved overlooked the exclusionary language in the Ordinance.”
Rench noted that he was very glad he was given justice and victory. However, the whole ordeal makes him nervous about the future of our country and where we are headed if arrests like this become the norm.
And he should be, we all should be…