For over five years, members of the Rockford, Illinois Pro-Life Initiative have battled the City of Rockford because of Civil rights violations. Yesterday, March 1, 2013, it was announced that a settlement has been reached between the two.
The lawsuit came about over the harassment of pro-life individuals by some Rockford police, as well as other federal civil rights violations. The agreement, reached between attorneys from the Thomas More Society and the city, will result in positive reforms and revisions of city ordinances, payment of attorney's fees, and compensation for losses suffered by the removal of pro-life advertising by members of the Pro-Life Initiative.
The settlement says that the city of Rockford, Illinois, has agreed that its governing ordinances should not violate the fundamental rights of Rockford citizens to freedom of expression and assembly. The city will be revising a specific number of its ordinances and laws.
Additionally and perhaps most important, the City of Rockford has agreed to implement a First Amendment training program for the Rockford Police Department in order to properly educate law enforcement about the First Amendment rights of citizens’.
The settlements stated goals include the prevention of any wrongful arrests of citizens, including pro-life advocates, for participation in constitutionally-protected activities.
The settlement also requires payment by the city for the plaintiffs' legal fees as well as modest compensation for damages incurred when a pro-life bus bench advertisement was defaced and obliterated, and future advertisements barred. Additionally, a city complaint against Pro-Life activist Kevin Rilott for alleged "jaywalking" outside Webster's abortion clinic has been dismissed.
Copyright © 2013 by: Jake Jones