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