Mormons, Mesa Police, Mayhem (Part 4 of 4)
[See Part One, which has background info.]
If you've been following our story, poor Mr. Craft has suffered three times now at the hands of the Mormons and Mesa Police. This last installment (last for now - there's still litigation pending) comes from Salt Lake City. Not exactly Mesa, but close enough for government work, if you catch my drift.
After the events in Mesa, Mr. Craft headed up to Salt Lake City, Fraud Capital of the World (according to the FBI - remember the Olympic Scandal?) and Headquarters of the Mormon Church, which recently bought out the only dissenting major newspaper in that city. (One gets the impression they don't tolerate criticism.) Mr. Craft is going to preach during the Mormon General Conference there.
He spent all day (12 hours) preaching Saturday, without incident. He did the same on Sunday, but some Mormon got all upset and asked one of his cop buddies to do something. Fortunately, he has most of what happens next on videotape and has witnesses.
An off duty Salt Lake Police officer (it turns out to be a Sgt. Askerlund), in plain clothes, without any badge, ID, handcuffs (may not even have a service weapon on him) acting as Church Security, heads over to Mr. Craft. He wants to talk to Mr. Craft, but Mr. Craft doesn't want to talk to him. Remember, in our Constitutional Republic, you do not have to talk to a cop, and Mr. Craft didn't know this guy was a cop anyway. Nor did Sgt. Askerlund ever identify himself as a police officer.
This man then tells Mr. Craft to "give me the cone" and grabs at Mr. Craft's megaphone. Naturally, Mr. Craft thinks this guy is trying to steal his property, which has happened to others who witness to Mormons. (Apparently, they already think they're gods who can do whatever they want.) Naturally, Mr. Craft held on to his property, and tries to get away. The next thing he knows, he's grabbed by the neck. Does this look like an official police restraint technique to you?
Mr. Craft starts yelling for help, believing, rightly so, that some out of control guy is assaulting him. Finally a uniformed officer comes over and arrests Mr. Craft. The charge? Well, that's going to change and gets interesting in retrospect.
[BTW - Mr. Craft sought medical attention after this assault. The Doctor reports he suffered contusions, a sprain and a muscle strain. I should point out you can hear compassionate Mormons cheering during this assault. I guess you only have the right to free speech in Salt Lake City as long as you don't speak against The Church. You can ask Tom Greene (polygamist) about that.]
Initially the charge is ostensibly for that ever popular, over used, catch all, "Disorderly Conduct." One wonders what changed from all day Saturday to mid-Sunday. Mr. Craft's voice was certainly weaker after a full day of street preaching.
In any event, Mr. Craft is dragged onto Church property, into a Church room. (Seems like collusion between the Mormon Church and the Salt Lake Police, but what do I know.) While filling out the paperwork, Mr. Craft kept asking how he was being disorderly. He was told someone was complaining about what he was saying. (Did you catch that, lawyers and lovers of the Constitution? Content.)
Mr. Craft kept insisting he did nothing wrong. Well, you know police officers are an honorable bunch - when you challenge their authority, they're such children, they'll trump up the charge. So Sgt. Askerlund said something to the effect of "Okay, if that's the way it's going to be" crumpled up the ticket, and wrote a new one, this time adding "Resisting arrest" to the charge. A much more serious charge than disorderly conduct. (The latter is considered an infraction in Salt Lake, the former a fairly serious misdemeanor.)
What gets interesting is, in his statement, Sgt. Askerlund claims to own a crystal ball. That is, he can see into the future. For Askerlund says in his report that when he went over to Mr. Craft, he arrested him for "Disorderly Conduct AND interfering with my abilities to perform my duty" (i.e. Resisting a police officer). How do you suppose the good officer knew Mr. Craft would resist before Mr. Craft had been arrested? He seems confused - and we know who the author of confusion is, don't we? Do you suppose it more likely that Sgt. Askerlund is lying? We all know cops routinely lie, and I've already demonstrated (sadly) that Mormon cops are no better.
Mr. Craft was released on the spot (less his megaphone - why?). His next court date is late August.
I hear the Judge, Judge Maughan (photo 2) is a Mormon Bishop, so I'm sure Mr. Craft - who Mormons referred to as an "Anti-Mormon" - will get a fair trial there in Salt Lake. His public defender certainly didn't provide a zealous defense, which he's supposed to by law. Do you suppose the Judge will "Choose the Right" and recuse himself?
Fortunately, he was able to find a big time lawyer to defend him, so maybe he'll make the headlines and justice will prevail. We can always pray.
I'll update this when more becomes available.
Phoneix, Arizona Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Mesa Arizona Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on various Police Departments