Mayor Comments After Controversial Arrest Enflames Tension

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It is more than likely that the small city of Reading, Pennsylvania, is about to be inundated with lawsuits.

Damon Atkins was present during a Pride rally on June 3, 2023, that was near Reading City Hall.

Around 10:05 am Atkins was on a public sidewalk near city hall, and almost 60 seconds later, he was in handcuffs.

Matthew Wear of REading, Pennsylvania was there preaching with Atkins and recorded the entire event.

Wear told the Lancaster Patriot that he was preaching for about 12 minutes and then he started to film after a police officer became hostile.

The video begins with Wear narrating and explaining that he preached until “a cop got in my face, laid hands on me, and threatened to arrest me if I didn’t stop.”

“They got drag queens, they got children here,” Wear said in the video. “They’re about to do a flag raising ceremony in this Satan cesspit.”

Down the street Wear noticed that Atkins was being arrested.

“It looks like some more men just showed up to support us,” Wear says at the 1:48 point in the video. “This cop’s going to give them a hard time.”

Police Sergeant Bradley T. McClure and Atkins interact for about 25 seconds but all that can be heard is Atkins saying, This is public property.”

McClure said, “let them have their event” and “respect them.”

Initally, McClure walks away from Atkins who is heard saying, “God is not the,” and that was it. The police sergeant turned around and handcuffed him.

Atkins said he was trying to quote 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not the author of confusion” when he was arrested.

Not long after the arrest the Berks county District Attorney’s Office dropped the disorderly conduct charge against Atkins.

“After a review of the incident which took place on June 3, 2023, in the 800 block of Washington Street in the City of Reading, the District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn the charges of disorderly conduct filed against Damon Atkins,” a Tuesday Facebook post from the Berks County District Attorney reads. “The charges were withdrawn after the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the videos of the incident along with applicable case law.”

Berks count Commissioner Christian Leinbach told the Lancaster Patriot that, “From what I have seen thus far I believe this was an unlawful arrest and could open the City of Reading and their police department to legal action.”

Two days after the prosecutor announced they were dropping the charges Democrat Mayor Eddie Moran told WFMZ-TV:

First and foremost, I consider myself lucky to have been able to participate in the Reading Pride March and Rally. It truly was a wonderful event, and I look forward to continuing to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community throughout the month of June. With regard to the incident, the City respects the First Amendment rights of all individuals. However, freedom of speech does not include the right to disrupt an organized event and interfere with the rights of others.

All the Reading Police did was complain that they are being inundated with complaints about the incident offering no apology.

Reading’s police chief — Richard Tornielli — told WFMZ that “since the arrest of Damon Atkins, the Reading Police Department Communications Center has been inundated with phone calls from individuals voicing complaints about the arrest.”

Tornielli added to the station that “on Tuesday and Wednesday, our Communications Center fielded hundreds of calls on phone lines that are used for emergency and non-emergency requests for police assistance. These harassing phone calls have distracted our communication personnel from fielding calls related to incidents taking place in the City of Reading. This potentially creates a dangerous situation causing delays in police responses. Many of the phone calls received have included threats to police personnel and have contained inappropriate and vile language. The Reading Police Department and our partner law enforcement agencies are investigating the calls which have contained threatening language and will pursue charges where appropriate.”

The First Amendment doesn’t apply to some Americans it applies to ALL Americans and that fact is about to cost a small city A LOT of money.

Below is a video of the arrest: