Mundelein Police shut down the Face the Truth Tour group July 8, threatening arrests [Photo by Dan Gura]
For the first time in the seven years the Pro-Life Action League has been conducting Face the Truth Tours, the pro-life demonstrators were forced to remove their display from the public square by local police. On Saturday, July 8, the first day of the Leauge’s 2006 Tour, police shut down the Tour display in the village of Mundelein, IL, threatening massive arrests if the group did not disband.
The Mundelein Police appeared shortly after the Tour group began their planned 90-minute stint at Route 60 and Route 45, demanding that the group remove their signs and leave the village immediately, insisting a permit was required for any “public assembly.” Tour Captain Eric Scheidler attempted to convince the police to respect the group’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest abortion, and asked for a copy of the ordinance of which the group was allegedly in violation. The could not show Scheidler the ordinance, nor even immediately cite it.
Tour Captain Eric Scheidler (right) talks with police as Coordinator Karl Schudt and volunteer Wanda Glitz look on [Photo by Dan Gura]
Massive Arrests Threatened
Police from Vernon Hills, Libertyville and several other neighboring communities had begun to appear on the scene to assist the Mundelein police in arresting the entire group of 75 pro-life activists.
Rather than jeopardize the entire summer Truth Tour—a real possibility if Mundelein police impounded the group’s signs—Scheidler finally made the decision to end the demonstration early when it became clear that police were about begin making arrests. However, he was able to keep the display in place for about half the allotted time while talking to police.
Village of Mundelein To Face Lawsuit
Scheidler and the other Tour Coordinators then scrambled to suspend the protest, which was spread out several blocks in all four directions. As they loaded the signs into their vans under the eye of the increasingly impatient police, League Director Joe Scheidler led the large group of volunteers in singing patriotic songs and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Police gather, preparing to arrest all 75 Truth Tour participants [Photo by Dan Gura]
Even before the Tour site was cut short, Eric Scheidler had been in contact with League attorney Thomas Brejcha about the situation. Next week, Brejcha will begin legal proceedings against the Village of Mundelein for violating the pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights with its unconstitutional and ambiguously worded ordinance—which, incidentally, was not enforced against a group of highschool cheerleaders which had assembled to conduct a fundraising carwash at the same corner.
No Trouble at Morning and Afternoon Sites
The hostility of the Mundelein police stood in stark contrast to the cooperation and respect with which the Tour group was treated by police in Libertyville that morning. Police in Barrington, the afternoon site, did not stop to talk to the group. The Truth Tour resumes Monday, July 10, with three sites in Rockford, IL.