KANSAS CITY, KAN. (CN) – The City of Beloit sent a crew “to cut down and destroy all of the gardens” at a wheelchair-bound man’s home, and knocked him out of his wheelchair and injured him, because a city official objected to the man’s prayer vigil at a homemade shrine commemorating the Jesuit priests killed in El Salvador, Peter Karlin claims in Federal Court.
Karlin claims he maintained the shrine in a “secluded cove” for 11 years without problems, until his daylong prayer vigils, on Nov. 16, 2003 and 2004, aroused the ire of code enforcement officer Chris Jones. He says Jones, a career military drill instructor, objected to Karlin’s criticism of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, where the Jesuits’ assassins were trained.
Karlin says the city destroyed his shrine in July 2005, during which time police officers knocked him out of his wheelchair, causing him to tumble down his backyard ramp, injuring him.
He demands punitive damages for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, negligence, and constitutional violations. He is represented by Alan Johnson with Sloan, Eisenbarth & Glassman of Topeka.