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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
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Anti-Abortion Protester Sues Michigan Clinic Over Arrest

An anti-abortion protester claims in court that an abortion clinic had her arrested on false claims that she threatened to bomb the facility.

(CN) – An anti-abortion protester claims in court that an abortion clinic had her arrested on false allegations that she threatened to bomb the facility.

U.S. Navy veteran Kimberley Thames claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Detroit federal court that she and a Catholic nun “prayed on the public sidewalks surrounding” the Northland Family Planning Center in Detroit suburb Westland on the morning of Aug. 27, 2016.

“As she would often do, plaintiff engaged defendant [security guard John] Doe, assuring him that she was praying for him as well as the unborn babies,” the complaint states. “She also told Doe that she would pray he would find another job—a job that would affirm the value of human life.”

Doe allegedly seemed “agitated by plaintiff’s suggestion, claiming that his job was ‘fine’ and that he was there to protect everyone.”

Thames claims she then left to use the restroom at a nearby store, and upon her return, found that several police officers had arrived outside the clinic.

A Northland employee “told the officers that plaintiff had made threats in the past and that she is a common problem for Northland—all of which are false,” the 38-page lawsuit states.

The security guard, allegedly at the employee’s urging, then told the police officers that Thames said, “I prophesy bombs are going to fall, I prophesy bombs are going to fall.”

But Thames claims that was a “complete fabrication” and she didn’t know that the Northland employee called 911 to report a bomb threat.

Though the officers found nothing when they searched Thames’ car, they “didn’t bother to conduct an investigation,” her complaint states.

The nun Thames was praying with “told the officers that plaintiff never made any threats and that Doe was lying,” Thames says.

Yet “the officers ignored what she was telling them,” the lawsuit states. “In fact, one officer became angry with the nun and told her in an agitated voice, ‘You have no idea what you are talking about.’”

One officer allegedly said, “Anyone who has anything to do with the whole thing [referring to the pro-life movement] is a fanatic.” (Brackets in original.)

The police then arrested Thames, allegedly accusing her of “making terrorist threats.”

About four pages of Thames’ federal lawsuit explain the discomfort of her holding cell, repeatedly emphasizing that she is claustrophobic.

The seven-count complaint asserts claims of conspiracy, false arrest, defamation and violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

Thames seeks declaratory and injunctive relief; nominal, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages; attorney fees and costs; and a jury trial.

She is represented by Robert Muise with the American Freedom Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Patrick Gillen with the Thomas More Society in Naples, Fla.

The defendants, including Northland Family Planning Center and the City of Westland, did not return requests for comment emailed Wednesday.

Categories / Civil Rights

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