Praise God. Edward Gathright was acquitted on Monday, January 24.
Back in August, Edward and I went to Portland's Waterfront Park for a preach. There was a fundraising event going on called The Bite in which restaurants, wineries, and breweries from all over Oregon were set up to sell their wares, and a competition for "Best of" was also part of the event. (See: August 15)
Edward and I first went in and found the location with the widest, open area for preaching -- approximately 75' across. There were vendors on either side of that space. In addition there was a space between two of the vendors aimed right at the preaching location so I was able to go outside the fence and set up to videotape the preach in its entirety from there. We agreed that Edward would pay his entrance fee, come back to that spot, and wait until I began taping before he started preaching. The reason for that was, in the past, cops and others would always counter our videos by claiming that the bad acts happened BEFORE the tape was rolling.
As many of you know, Edward has won a federal case against Portland and there has been a standing federal judge's order that the City not remove or arrest Edward (or any similarly situated person) from any such event in a public park unless there was probable cause tho show that Edward have violated a duly authorized statute or ordinance. In the past, the City gave carte blanche to permit holders to make up "rules" of their own and enforce them with arrests. The Judge said they could no longer do that. Only duly-enacted laws were applicable.
Since the court order, however, the City had violated the provisions of the order nearly half a dozen times -- even when the police were given advance warning that we would be there and reminded of the order. This was to be yet another test.
Edward preached, and after about half an hour, he was arrested. They originally charged Disorderly Conduct and "failure to obey a reasonable order of a police officer." The Dis Con was dropped and the State proceeded with only the "violation" (equivalent of a parking ticket) charge of failure to obey. For this, some of the DA's top staff were involved. They subpoenaed seven witnesses and their testimony took all day long. At the end of the prosecution case -- and before the defense had any chance to put one their case -- the judge decided to acquit Edward.
Next, this and other violations of the order will be used to ask the court to hold the City in contempt.