Pastor Tim Thompson of 412 Church in Murrieta, Calif., was arrested for protesting on the capitol grounds in Sacramento on May 1st in support of reopening California’s businesses and churches. Thompson, a law enforcement chaplain, was singled out of a crowd of protesters by California Highway Patrol and roughly put into zip-ties and cited under what he describes as unlawful orders. “I was there to speak,” Thompson told PJ Media. “I was told that riot police were pushing the protesters off the capitol grounds. We had been there seven hours with the police all day long and had no problems. But suddenly they were ordered to gear up and push peaceful people off the grounds with batons.”
When Thompson went to investigate what was happening, he says CHP recognized him, pointed him out, and grabbed him and put him under arrest. “I identified myself right away as a law-enforcement chaplain and told them, ‘I won’t resist, I won’t cause any trouble for you guys.'”
Thompson believes he and other organizers were targeted for arrest to make an example out of them. “Most of the arrested were organizers and speakers or members of my church. They took us to the basement of the capitol and searched us and sat us there for around thirty minutes.” Officers then wrote them citations for being a “public health hazard” and they were transferred to another facility to sign paperwork after which they were released. They are due in court on June 30 to defend themselves against the charges.
Thompson’s arrest sparked a viral video when Marine veteran, Cordie Lee Williams took a megaphone and spoke to the riot police about the Constitution and reprimanded them for violating their oath of office. They moved off, away from the crowd, and appeared to stand down.
Thompson and Williams and the other organizers, many of whom were arrested, decided to return to Sacramento for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday. Thompson says he went back for two main reasons. “We have a right to be there and we stand with CHP that they should not be forced to do that to people,” he told PJ Media. Thompson and Williams stood before the same police and prayed for them and forgave them for what they had done to protesters last week.
The protest on Thursday went much more peacefully, with CHP hanging back from the crowd but blocking the capitol grounds. CHP refused to accept an offered olive tree from the protesters as a symbol of peace between the crowd and law enforcement.
“We know that you’re men and women that are here doing a job you’ve been paid to do,” Thompson said to the line of officers. “You have families you want to go to at the end of the day and we love each and every one of you, we value you, we appreciate you, we’re so grateful for each and every one of you and we hold nothing against you….we are not wrestling against you…but we are standing in solidarity with you and against the wickedness and wrong laws being formed here in this building.”
Thompson then prayed for God to move the heart of one officer to accept the gift they had brought for them, an olive tree, symbolizing peace. “I’m crying out to you as a law enforcement chaplain…will you just come out and receive this?” No one would come forward to receive it. The protesters left it on the capitol grounds.
PJ Media reached out to CHP to ask if the officers were forbidden from accepting the tree from the protesters and to find out if it was ever recovered, but received no response.
Update: The CHP commented on the gift: “Although this was a kind gesture, CHP employees must remain neutral during the performance of their duties and focused on the mission at hand, which in this case was ensuring a safe environment for demonstrators and onlookers.”
You can watch the video of the exchange below.
Posted by Our Watch With Tim Thompson on Thursday, May 7, 2020
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter
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