In a recent incident at the first annual Reading Pride March & Rally in Pennsylvania, a man was arrested after causing a disturbance while attempting to quote biblical verses to attendees across the street. The incident, captured on cellphone video by Matthew Wear, unfolded outside City Hall at 815 Washington Street.
According to reports by The Lancaster Patriot, the man responsible for the disruption was identified as Damon Atkins. Prior to Atkins’ arrival, Wear had been preaching to the Pride-rally attendees and was approached by a police officer who instructed him to stop. As the officer later confronted Atkins, Wear’s video camera documented the interaction between the two.
Standing on the public sidewalk, Atkins engaged in a discussion with the officer, emphasizing that it was public property. However, the officer urged Atkins to let the event proceed and respect it.
As the officer began to walk away, Atkins attempted to quote a biblical verse but was interrupted and subsequently arrested by the officer. The Pride rally attendees applauded the officer’s actions. Atkins, who had intended to cite 1 Corinthians 14:33, was unable to finish his statement as he was being apprehended.
Wear continued to record the events unfolding before him, expressing his disapproval of what he deemed “sheer tyranny.” The arrested Atkins was escorted away from the rally, and his backpack was emptied while he sat on a curb. Meanwhile, a representative from the Pride event took the opportunity to mock the protesters and encourage them to embrace love.
The Lancaster Patriot obtained an affidavit of probable cause, which stated that Atkins was arrested for carrying a sign opposing the event and yelling comments intended to disrupt it. However, Wear’s video does not show Atkins agreeing to refrain from making such comments, and Atkins himself disputed that he ever consented to the officer’s instructions.
Atkins was charged with disorderly conduct, specifically engaging in fighting, and his court date is scheduled for June 16. He expressed hope that he would be represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.
A Christian man was arrested for protesting a “Pride” event on a public street in Reading, PA. Damon Atkins was reciting a Bible verse when he was arrested as the man filming says, “I cannot believe I’m watching this.” pic.twitter.com/SmvPlhr900
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 6, 2023