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Philadelphia Appeals Court Hears Kutztown Univ. Police Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 3rd circuit court of appeals in Philadelphia has heard arguments on a Kutztown University police officer’s lawsuit that he was wrongfully disciplined for refusing to kick members of a Christian pro-life group off campus. The officer maintains he wanted to respect their free speech rights.

Back in 2007, about 15 members of the group, “Repent America” demonstrated on the Kutztown campus about abortion and gay behavior. They were met by about 300 students, who chanted, among other lines, “born-again bigots, go away.”

According to corporal Steven Armbruster, the KU president and the university’s police chief insisted that the Christian group leave, threatening arrest for disorderly conduct. Armbruster saw no evidence of bad behavior – they were peaceful and non-violent.

But because he did not carry out the order, the department subsequently suspended him, and slapped him with a disciplinary letter, according to lawyer Randall Wenger:

“We don’t live in a police state,” Wenger said.

A lawyer for the state attorney general’s office argued his superiors may have made a bad management decision, but Armbruster’s due process rights were not violated.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio

  • joe

    Besides in this case the protestors are found not-guilty by the courts. Seems the officer was right, and the Boss made a bad call.. No officer should follow an order blindly. No one handed him a gun and badge, and said do whatever I tell you, no matter what. They make them swear an oath not to violate anyone’s constitutional rights and not to follow unlawful orders.

  • rukidnme

    I`m tour boss, I tell you to do something, you say no and refuse to do it, that`s insobordination, you`re fired,case closed. Uless your life is in grave danger you are wrong for not doing it. If you are told to do something that you don`t agree with you should do it and then dicuss it or report it to higher ups,not,refuse that`s plain wrong. You deserve to be fired. Period.

    • joe

      Police Officers can be sued individually for following an unlawful order. So they don’t do whatever their told without using judgement.

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