Pastor Terry Jones, right, and Rev. Wayne Sapp react to the jury's verdict, that both of them are likely to cause a breach of the peace with their proposed protest against at the Islamic Center of America.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
DEARBORN, Mich. — In a stunning conclusion to a daylong trial, a jury found controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones a threat to public safety and the minister was carted off to jail after refusing to post a $1 peace bond.
The trial Friday in Michigan’s 19th District Court was held after Mr. Jones was denied a permit to hold a rally against radical Islam in front of the largest mosque in North America, in a city with the largest Arab Muslim population in the United States.
The two men posted bond shortly after their incarceration.
Prosecutors argued that Mr. Jones and his associate, the Rev. Wayne Sapp, were free to speak at one of the city’s four designated “free speech zones,” but the ministers opposed restrictions on their First Amendment rights to free speech and free assembly.
A jury of six reached a unanimous verdict that the Florida pastors and their Stand Up America Now rally, which had been scheduled for 5 p.m. on Good Friday at the Islamic Center of North America, were a threat to public safety.
Judge Mark Somers said the verdict required him to set a bond, and after prosecutors recommended it be set at $25,000, the judge instead set it at $1 for Mr. Jones and $1 for Mr. Sapp.
David Grisham, center, a pastor from Amarillo, Texas, is confronted by Melissa Green, left, in Orange City, Mich., along with other protesters as he tries to leave the 19th District Courthouse in Dearborn after testifying in support of Rev. Terry Jones.
Asked if they were prepared to post bond, both Mr. Jones and Mr. Sapp said no without explanation. The judge then ordered the pastors to be jailed until they posted bond.
The rally that was scheduled for Friday night never took place. Mr. Jones had said earlier that if the trial went too long he would reschedule the demonstration for next week. There was no indication whether there will be a Stand Up America Now rally in Dearborn.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.