Attorneys with the anti-arbortion groups the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the Thomas More Society of Chicago, and the American Catholic Lawyers Association revealed that after their arrest, the protesters, including women and young girls, one as young as 14, were put into leg shackles and strip searched twice, while being denied the right to make phone calls, and make contact with lawyers. The protesters were kept in jail overnight.
State police in Maryland have been ordered to undergo training on the First and Fourth Amendments following a 2008 incident during which 18 pro-life protesters were arrested, shackled and strip searched.
The incident occured when members of the group Defend Life peacefully demonstrated on public property in Hartford County in August, 2008, as part of their “Face the Truth” campaign.
Around a dozen State officers arrived on the scene and told the protesters that they did not have a permit and would be arrested unless they packed up and left.
When asked what specific ordinance said the demonstrators needed a permit to protest, one officer responded “I’m not getting into it at five o’clock at night… I’m a State police officer, I know the law – THAT’S IT.”
Part of the incident was captured on film.