Criminal Justice

Florida pastor is arrested on his way to burn Qurans on 9/11 anniversary

A Florida pastor was arrested on a charge of unlawfully transporting fuel as he traveled to a Tampa Bay-area park on Sept. 11 to burn 2,998 kerosene-soaked Qurans.

Pastor Terry Burns was arrested after a traffic stop, report the Orlando Sentinel, WTSP, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

Police say the Qurans and a smoker grill were in a trailer attached to Burns’ pickup truck, which had more kerosene bottles in the truck bed, according to the Sentinel.

In addition to the unlawful transportation of fuel charge, Burns was charged with improperly lighting the trailer, failing to have a proper registration for the trailer, and openly transporting a firearm that he allegedly carried on his hip at a McDonald’s in Mulberry, Fla. His truck was also seized, the Sentinel says.

The number of Qurans was intended to represent the number of Sept. 11 victims. However his count also included the 19 hijackers, the Los Angeles Times says.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd issued a statement about the arrest. “My detectives had many conversations with Terry Jones prior to today,” Judd said. “He was told he was welcome to come to Polk County and express his First Amendment rights. However, if he violated the law, he would absolutely be arrested and placed in the county jail. On Sept. 11, he arrived in Polk County, violated the law and our detectives arrested him and booked him into the county jail, just as he was informed.”

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