**Charges Dropped Against Man Arrested for Attempting to Quote Bible at Pride Rally**
In a victory for free speech, charges have been dropped against Damon Atkins, a Pennsylvania man who was arrested for attempting to quote the Bible at a Pride rally. The incident highlights concerns over authorities potentially suppressing religious expression while raising questions about unlawful arrests and possible legal ramifications for police departments.
The ordeal took place in Reading, 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia, during the city’s first annual Reading Pride March & Rally outside City Hall. Matthew Wear, who was present at the event, recorded the video of Atkins’ arrest. Wear had been preaching to the Pride rally attendees before Atkins arrived. The same officer who arrested Atkins also told Wear to stop, laying hands on him and threatening arrest.
Atkins was standing on the public sidewalk, holding signs around 10 a.m. when he was confronted by the police. The video captured the interaction between him and the officer, identified as Sgt. Bradley McClure. Atkins told McClure that he was on public property, to which the officer agreed but insisted Atkins respect the event happening nearby. Atkins then cited the parable of the rich man and Lazarus from the Gospel of Luke which, before he could finish, prompted the officer to arrest him. As Atkins was handcuffed, the Pride rally attendees applauded.
In response to the incident, Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach stated in an email that “from what I have seen thus far, I believe this was an unlawful arrest and could open the City