First Amendment

Anti-abortion protester says his DC banishment is ‘totally suppressing my freedom of speech'

A judge has issued an unusual release condition on an anti-abortion protester who managed to evade police on inauguration day by climbing ever higher into a tree.

Magistrate Judge Karen Howze of Washington, D.C., Superior Court banned protester Rives Grogan from the capital until his next court appearance on Feb. 25, the Washington Post reports.

Grogan, who calls himself “Pastor Rick,” says he has been arrested about 10 times in the past couple years just for protests in the Senate and House. In one recent incident, he shouted in the Senate gallery that the mass shootings at a grade school in Newtown, Conn., were caused by legal abortions. In the inauguration protest, Grogan perched in a tree and shouted, climbing higher than the ladder used by police trying to retrieve him.

A transcript shows Howze was concerned about Grogan’s safety, given recurring arrests that put him in jeopardy, the story says. Charging documents also say Grogan broke several tree branches; an arrest report claims Grogan was jeopardizing his life and the lives of others because of the possibility that the tree branch holding him would break.

Grogan questions the restriction on his release. “I don’t know why they would ban me from all of Washington,” he told the Post. “I think they are totally suppressing my freedom of speech.”

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