In 2008, police officers arrested Pastor Teesdale and eight members of his church, Garfield Ridge Baptist, as they were talking to the public about the gospel and handing out scripture near a public event. Now, after a three year battle, the Federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has finally reaffirmed Pastor Teesdale's free speech rights.
The judgement was a victory in that it acknowledged that the City of Chicago has had a "misguided litigation position" with respect to the event. And it also acknowledged the importance of protected free speech: "We acknowledge the great importance that our
rights to such freedoms are to be respected."
The only reason there was no monetary award for damages was apparently because the misguided actions of the City of Chicago are not a part of official city policy.
The main message from the judgment is clear: Arresting people on the street for simply exercising their First Amendment right of free speech is unconstitutional and the Constitution is still considered a foundational basis of law by the court.
In considering how many US Constitutional rights have been stripped away since September 11, 2001, there is a bit of comfort to realize that a remnant of constitutional protection remains.
Tags: Summary of Teesdale free speech case, deposition and court documents for Frank Teesdale case, Pastor Frank Teesdale wins First Amendment victory in court for free speech rights, Christians and free speech,