A police officer lacked probable cause to arrest a preacher for reading the Bible aloud at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office, a federal appeals court says.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Wednesday rejected a lower court opinion that found in favor of California Highway Patrol Officer Darren Meyer.
Calvary Church pastor Mark Mackey had sued Meyer, saying his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when Meyer arrested him for preaching without a permit outside the Hemet DMV in 2011.
Meyer asserted that Mackey's preaching led to a verbal altercation with people standing in line to get into the office.
But the court said that assertion was “completely belied” by video.
“You can preach on your own property,” Meyer is heard saying in the video.
“Folks, this is what the United States is coming to,” Mackey is heard saying. “You can talk about anything you want, but you can’t talk about the Bible.”
The video, which was featured on Fox News, went viral online, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported Thursday.
Mackey’s reaction to the ruling was “justice still prevails,” while Meyer declined comment, the paper reported.
Mackey was eventually cleared of the misdemeanor criminal charges brought against him.