A man has been arrested by police in Reading, Pennsylvania for quoting verses from the Bible in public.
The man, Damon Atkins, was arrested after cops saw him trying to quote the Bible to Pride-rally attendees who were across the street from him
Cell phone footage of the incident, which took place Saturday outside City Hall at 815 Washington Street, has been going viral on social media
The first annual Reading Pride March & Rally was underway at the time.
Reading is about 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia.
The outlet said it spoke to both Atkins and Wear.
Wear told the Patriot he’d been preaching to the Pride-rally attendees prior to Atkins’ arrival.
He revealed that he was told to stop by the same police officer who later handcuffed Atkins.
“A cop got in my face, laid hands on me, and threatened to arrest me if I didn’t stop,” Wear says in the video.
The outlet said Atkins was standing on the public sidewalk holding signs just after 10 am.
The police then started to target Atkins, the outlet revealed.
Wear captured the interaction between Atkins and the officer on his cell phone.
The main officer was identified by the Patriot as Sgt. Bradley McClure.
McClure is standing in the street and speaking to Atkins, who is standing on the sidewalk.
“This is public property,” Atkins tells the officer.
The cop agrees it is public property but still insists that Atkins “let them have their event” and “respect it.”
“You know who’s cheering for us?” Atkins replies.
“The people that are in hell.”
The Patriot said Atkins later explained that he was referring to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke.
In the parable, a rich man begs Father Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers about the place of torment he’s in.
As the officer turns and walks away, Atkins says, “So you do you, and I’m gonna do me.”
With that, Atkins begins speaking, hollering “You!” across the street and then uttering the words, “God is not…”
The officer then says, “That’s it!” as he turns back and arrests Atkins.
At this point, the Pride-rally attendees applaud.
Atkins added to the Patriot that he was going to quote a portion of 1 Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion.”
However, he didn’t finish speaking the verse because he was being arrested.
Moments later when a handcuffed Atkins continues trying to speak to the Pride-rally attendees, the officer turns him around and walks him up against a building’s outer wall.
Soon the officer walks Atkins away from the rally, as two other officers follow.
They can be seen sitting him on a curb while emptying his backpack.
“Sheer tyranny,” says Wear, who is still recording video of everything.
Meanwhile, a Pride representative mocks the incident over a loudspeaker, boasting that “protesters across the street” managed to “get themselves in trouble with the police.”
The crowd begins cheering as a fellow citizen is stripped of his rights in front of them.
The man on the mic then urges the protesters to get “some love into that heart of yours.”
A court document shows that Atkins was charged with “Disorderly Conduct Engage in Fighting,” according to the Patriot.
A criminal complaint from the Reading Police Department provided to The Lancaster Patriot explains that a violation of the Disorderly Conduct statute entails “the intent to cause substantial public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior” and that Atkins “despite being warned by police just moments prior, yelled derogatory comments at an organization that was holding a permitted event.”
The Patriot said Atkins’ court date is scheduled for June 16.
He reportedly told the outlet that he’s hoping Alliance Defending Freedom will represent him.