Help me out here:
If I do something that is perfectly legal, but a policeman orders me to stop and I continue doing the thing that’s perfectly legal, did I do something illegal?
That’s exactly what happened in Dearborn, Michigan.
A Christian woman (a) was convicted for (b) not obeying a policeman’s order to (c) stop filming her fellow missionaries proselytizing to Muslims, but (d) the policeman admits that her filming is not a crime.
In other words, she is convicted of a non-crime! Which doesn’t make sense, not to mention is against the U.S. Constitution, which sure suggests that the “crime” of which the woman is convicted is really (c)— that she filmed Muslims being proselytized by Christian missionaries — doesn’t it?
Thomas More Law Center Appeals Conviction of Young Christian Missionary Arrested at Dearborn Arab Festival
February 3, 2011
Standing barely 5 feet tall, 18-year old Negeen Mayel, whose parents escaped from Afghanistan after the Russian invasion, could not escape the clutches of the Dearborn, Michigan Police Department. Her crime: she was a Christian publicly filming her fellow Christian missionaries discussing the Gospel with Muslims at last year’s annual Dearborn Arab Festival, and she didn’t turn off her camera quick enough after a police officer ordered her to do so.
Negeen Mayel was convicted in the Dearborn District Court of failure to obey a police officer’s order. Astonishingly, at the trial, the officer admitted that the filming by Mayel was in fact not a crime.
Last week, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) filed its opening brief with the Wayne County Circuit Court, seeking to overturn her conviction. Mayel was one of four Christian missionaries originally arrested for preaching the Gospel at the 2010 Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan.
All four Christians were charged with Breach of the Peace for discussing their faith with Muslims at the Festival. All four were acquitted by a jury. However, Negeen Mayel was also charged with “failure to obey” for not turning off her video camera when told to do so by a Dearborn police officer. The officer then forcefully grabbed Negeen’s arm and camera, placed her in handcuffs, and had her locked-up in the city jail.
Dearborn is considered home to the largest Muslim population in America. As a result, many City officials, including the Mayor, engage in official action solely to please this significant voting bloc. In this case, police effectively replaced our constitutional guarantees of Free Speech with Sharia law, which forbids Christians to proselytize Muslims.
The Law Center’s brief argues that the conviction must be overturned because the arresting police officer lacked any information that Mayel was involved in criminal activity when she was seized by the officer, in violation of the Constitution. According to the brief filed with the Circuit Court, the police officer’s order “to shut off her camera and remain with him for questioning directly violated constitutional rights. Consequently, cannot be criminally charged nor convicted for disobeying an unconstitutional—and thus unlawful—police order.”
Read the Law Center’s brief here.
Robert Muise, TMLC’s Senior Trial Counsel who is handling the matter, stated, “The arresting officer’s actions and the actions of the Dearborn police department are textbook examples of civil rights violations of the highest order. Consequently, when a conviction is based on the actions of a police officer that violate fundamental constitutional rights, as in this case, that conviction must be reversed, lest our constitutional freedoms be rendered meaningless platitudes subject to the will of police officials.”