The Federal Bureau of Investigation is facing scrutiny for sending two dozen heavily armed agents to the home of pro-life activist Mark Houck last Friday, arresting him and then hauling him away in front of his family.
The case stemmed from a minor altercation Houck had with a volunteer at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia last October.
The case never went to court, but the Justice Department still came after Houck, even though his attorney had offered to bring Houck in. Instead of handling the potential investigation peacefully, the FBI raided Houck's home with overwhelming force, terrorizing his wife and children in the process.
Wednesday night, Houck's wife Ryan-Marie talked with Fox News's Tucker Carlson about the FBI raid's traumatizing impact on their children.
"It was devastating," she said about the incident. "You can imagine, I mean it's hard to even express the victimization and how traumatized we all are due to this unnecessary thing that happened to us."
When Carlson asked Ryan-Marie how many FBI agents were at her house, she replied, "It had to have been 20, 25, 30. We have a large property. My entire front yard, you could barely see it. It was covered with at least 15 big trucks and cars. And there were, like I said 20, 25, 30 men, women...completely in jackets with shields and helmets and guns. And they were behind cars."
"It was something I never expect to see on my front lawn," she added. "It was crazy."
Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Peter Breen, the Houcks' attorney, also appeared on the Fox News program with Ryan-Marie. He called the FBI's action "reckless and outrageous."
"It put the Houck family in unnecessary danger," he said. "We offered to bring him (Houck) in. Didn't get a response. Even if you're going to arrest a regular person, you just send a couple of agents and they knock on the door. Not dragging the head of the family out, violating the sanctity of the home, pointing guns at them."
"This was outrageous and uncalled for," Breen said.
Carlson asked Breen about the local authorities assessment of the shoving incident at the abortion clinic.
"The Philadelphia DA refused to press charges," the Thomas More senior counsel responded. "And he's not a friend of pro-life, he's a Soros ally. Then the alleged victim filed a private criminal complaint, which eventually the local courts threw out because the guy couldn't be bothered to show up for the hearings."
"So the local court system, which if there were a crime committed on that sidewalk, would have dealt with it. They said, 'No,'" Breen explained. "That is where this matter should have ended. This was not a federal crime. We have controlling case law on that. Strong defenses. But instead, they've taken an innocent man and made an example out of him, presumably to send a message to pro-life people and people of faith across this country."
Before ending the interview, Carlson asked Ryan-Marie how her children are doing.
"It's hard to tell," she replied. "The older ones we can talk. We can cry. We've had some counseling. We have more counseling to do. And the little ones, they're scared. They're scared. There's a lot of crying. And a lot of unrestful sleep. A lot of kids in our bed at night and in the morning."
Houck pleaded "not guilty" to the federal charge earlier this week. He is alleged to have violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, commonly known as the FACE Act, outside of a Pennsylvania abortion facility in October 2021.
Houck was charged over an altercation with an abortion activist who repeatedly targeted Houck's 12-year-old son with vulgar verbal attacks when led the father to protect his son – facts that according to Thomas More attorneys do not fall under the federal FACE Act.
"Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court," Breen said in a press release.
In June 2019, Thomas More Society attorneys won a similar case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, establishing that a one-off altercation, like the one for which the Biden Department of Justice is levying two counts against Houck, cannot form the basis for a FACE claim.
The not-for-profit, national public interest law firm has set up a website to support Houck's defense. For more information, click here.
The FBI has denied it used excessive force when taking Houck into custody. Breen said agents almost broke down the family's front door and at least five agents pointed their guns at his client as they arrested him.
A spokesperson from the FBI's Philadelphia field office told Fox News that their raid was not an actual SWAT raid against Houck. "No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved. FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck's front door, identified themselves as FBI agents, and asked him to exit the residence," they said. "He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment."
The family disputes that meek and mild description of the arrest.
A recent statement from the agency said the "number of personnel and vehicles widely reported as being on scene Friday is an overstatement", but they did not specify the number of agents or whether or not guns were drawn.
Republican Senators Demand Answers from Department of Justice
As CBN News reported earlier this week, Republican senators are demanding answers from the agency about the arrest at gunpoint of a pro-life activist.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted that the raid was "absurd" and a "blatant, partisan abuse of power."
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said the arrest was an "overreach".
"This appears to be nothing less than a brazen continuation of the abuse of power by federal authorities against average American citizens that must stop," Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) told The Daily Signal.
"We owe the American people congressional hearings to provide public and transparent accountability for any and all wrongdoing," he continued. "Even further, the FBI needs a complete and total overhaul to return primary law enforcement power to the states and to get the Bureau out of the business of politics once and for all."
Lawmakers and citizens are wondering why the FBI raided Houck's home but still has not arrested or prosecuted anyone in connection to the more than 140 incidences of firebombing and vandalism on pro-life centers.
"Nobody responsible for the nearly 100 attacks, including firebombs and vandalism, on pro-life pregnancy centers has been charged by the DOJ," wrote Greg Price, Senior Digital Strategist at XStrategiesLLC. "But a pro-life activist who pushed a Planned Parenthood volunteer threatening his son is now facing 11 years in jail. Two-tiers of justice."