Oklahoma Police Pull Over Driver for Anti-Obama Sign - Then the Secret Service Shows Up on his Doorstep
Oklahoma City police officer pulls man over for anti-Obama sign on vehicle
NewsOK - 19Feb09
The police officers who stopped Oklahoma City motorist Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign from his car told him he has a right to his beliefs, but the U.S. Secret Service “could construe this as a threat against President Obama,” according to the incident report released this morning.
The sign, which read “Abort Obama Not the Unborn,” was returned to Harrison later that day, the report said.
Police spokesman Steve McCool said this morning that the sign was taken in error, and Oklahoma City residents should not be worried that their First Amendment rights will be violated. He said a supervisor “intervened and quickly returned the sign” after Harrison called the police department.
“Obviously, it was not a good decision to confiscate the sign,” McCool said.
Harrison, who could not be reached for comment this morning, told the officers that in his opinion the words “Abort Obama” meant to impeach him. He told the officers he does not believe in abortion because he is a Christian.
Harrison was stopped while driving a white truck on westbound Interstate 44 at SW 119th at 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 12, according to the police report.
According to Harrison, an official said the Secret Service had been contacted on the matter and had told them the sign was not a threat to the president.
Harrison was asked if he would like to file a complaint. He said he was not sure but would take the paperwork, just in case.
But his run-in with the law wasn’t over yet.
”The Secret Service called and said they were at my house,” Harrison said.
After talking to his attorney, Harrison went home where he met the Secret Service.
”When I was on my way there, the Secret Service called me and said they weren’t going to ransack my house or anything … they just wanted to (walk through the house) and make sure I wasn’t a part of any hate groups.”
Harrison said he invited the Secret Service agents into the house and they were “very cordial.”
”We walked through the house and my wife and 2-year-old were in the house,” Harrison said.
He said they interviewed him for about 30 minutes and then left, not finding any evidence Harrison was a threat to the president.
”I’m still in contact with a lawyer right now,” Harrison said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Harrison said he feels his First Amendment rights were violated.
McCool said the officer who pulled over Harrison misinterpreted the sign.
”We had an officer that his interpretation of the sign was different than what was meant,” McCool said. “You’ve got an officer who had a different thought on what the word ‘abort’ meant.”
McCool said the sign basically meant Obama should be impeached and it was not a threat.
”(The officer) shouldn’t have taken the sign,” McCool said. “That was (Harrison’s) First Amendment right to voice his concern.”
McCool said although the sign should not have been confiscated, the situation was made right in the end.
”We always try to do the right thing and in the end we believe we did the right thing by returning the sign,” McCool said.