The city of Dearborn has reached a settlement with a group of Christian missionaries who were arrested during the Arab International Festival in 2010. The settlement requires the city to issue an official apology for the arrests and to pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs. The American Freedom Law Center, an offshoot of the Thomas More Law Center, issued a press release about the settlement:
After more than two years of intense motion practice and discovery, the City of Dearborn has agreed to enter into a settlement that includes a public apology for arresting several Christian missionaries who were peacefully preaching to Muslims at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in 2010. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is representing Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood, and Paul Rezkalla, who were thrown in jail on June 18, 2010, and charged with “breach of the peace” for their free speech activity.
In September 2010, Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, represented the Christians during a five-day criminal trial. At the end of the trial, the Christians were acquitted by a unanimous jury verdict. Following the acquittals, fellow AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Muise filed a 100-page, civil rights lawsuit against the City, its mayor, John B. O’Reilly, its chief of police, Ronald Haddad, 17 City police officers, and two executives from the American Arab Chamber of Commerce on behalf Qureshi, Wood, and Rezkalla. The lawsuit was later amended to add the Arab Chamber as a defendant. The civil rights complaint alleged that the Christians’ constitutional rights were egregiously violated during the Arab festival.
Just this past week, the City agreed to enter into a settlement, which includes a public apology that will be posted on the City’s website for three years; the removal from the City’s website of a press release and letter from the mayor that contained derogatory comments about the Christians; and a payment to the Christians, the amount of which is confidential.
Muise and Yerushalmi are nutty, but they’re right on this. As I wrote at the time, the Dearborn Police Department had clearly violated the First Amendment with the arrests and this is exactly the right outcome in the case.