Tuesday, August 19, 2003
City leaders get clue: The city of Oceanside has settled a lawsuit brought by four people arrested for preaching on city streets.
Under the terms of a compromise, Willis said, the city agreed in federal court in San Diego to have a judgment entered against it but admitted no fault.
Oceanside police arrested the men as they preached to passers-by Aug. 3, 2002, at Pier View Way and Coast Highway. Police said they acted on the complaint of a nearby business owner.
The men were members of West Coast Baptist Church in Vista, which, said the Rev. Philip Clark, its pastor, has sent preachers to the streets of Oceanside for 30 years.
Clark said yesterday that church members have continued preaching despite the arrest and a phone threat "to keep our blankety-blank preachers out of Oceanside."
Police said the case stemmed from a citizens arrest on behalf of the business owner who found the preaching annoyed her customers.
I don't believe that this method of evangelism is particularly productive, but slapping the cuffs on these individuals -- including a Navy petty officer -- was stupid.