Kingdom Baptist member claims FWPD is violating group’s free speech rights

Kingdom Baptist Church’s Jeremy Beattie, right, is shown preaching in downtown Fort Worth last year.

After reporting yesterday that two members of Kingdom Baptist Church were arrested at Fort Worth’s gay Pride parade, I received an email from Kingdom Baptist member Jeremy Beattie, who disputed my statement that several members of the Johnson County church had also been arrested at the parade in 2011. Beattie claims only one member of Kingdom Baptist was arrested in 2011. I checked with Fort Worth police today to confirm the number of arrests last year, but have not yet received a response. My report yesterday was based on our story about the parade last year.

Not surprisingly, Beattie is also accusing Fort Worth police of violating the group’s first amendment rights.  Here’s an excerpt from his email:

“There was only one member arrested last year from Kingdom Baptist on a false charge of saying a certain curse word which ended up being dismissed in court. There was another person arrested who was no member nor even a protester but a news reporter of some sort that was upset about the unjust arrest and did have foul language. Also what some call harassing we would call warning and admonishing the people to repent. Though we may not agree on many issues I hope that you will strive to be honest and I would also hope that others would see that our nations 1st amendment is disappearing when people can not peacefully speak out against certain actions without experiencing opposition from local city police officers. We have never used inappropriate language, or become violent though I personally have witnessed such action and worse from people participating in these parades. Thank you for your time and acknowledgment of these issues.”

—  John Wright