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Charges Dismissed Against Pastor Arrested at Spokane Library's Drag Queen Story Hour

12-09-2019

A judge in Spokane, WA, has dismissed criminal charges against a pastor who was arrested for obstruction while trying to protest a "Drag Queen Story Hour" at the local library. 

CBN News reported back in June that Pastor Afhsin Yaghtin of New Covenant Baptist Church was arrested after telling police that a library is a public property and that he is allowed to protest next to the building rather than across the street. 

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which represented Yaghtin, said that police violated the First Amendment by ordering him to move to a designated protest zone and that this does not support a conviction of obstruction. 

"Pastor Yaghtin was arrested for questioning the police's favorable treatment of supporters and unfavorable treatment of anyone they perceived to be non-supportive and for refusing to move to the 'protester' zone after being denied entry into the library."

Several hundred supporters at the event were allowed to stay beside the library building. 

But 200 people who were protesting the event were told by police to stand on the other side of the street. Protestors held up signs and voiced their opposition to having men dressed as women reading books to children. 

PJI's Attorney Jorge Ramos, called the decision "an enormous victory for the freedom of conscience."

"The prosecution refused to acknowledge law enforcement's overreach by separating and even barring people from entry into the library based on their views," Ramos said. "We are thankful justice prevailed and Pastor Yaghtin can continue to shepherd his community with confidence."

In a Facebook post, Yaghtin wrote that the Spokane Prosecuting Attorney's office plans to file a motion to reconsider, meaning an appeal is possible.

"It only took one day after Judge Staab ruled in my favor, for Spokane city prosecutor, Sean O'Quinn, to email my attorneys and let them know he plans to file a motion to reconsider, which could signal a coming appeal," he wrote. 

"These people are relentless, the Bible calls them 'reprobate', 'implacable', and 'without mercy' in Romans 1," he continued. "They have a political agenda. Please be in prayer for their plans to continue to be thwarted at every turn. They don't realize they are fighting against God, not man, and that whether we ultimately win or lose, Christ is the victor."

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