Fondren Corner Owner: Anti-Abortion Signs 'Horrible' | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Fondren Corner Owner: Anti-Abortion Signs 'Horrible'

The police stood near Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, on July 17 as Mike Peters picked up each of the large portable signs and took them to his building's basement./File Photo

The police stood near Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, on July 17 as Mike Peters picked up each of the large portable signs and took them to his building's basement./File Photo Photo by Trip Burns.

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One of the signs Mike Peters removed from Fondren Corner's sidewalk

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Last week, Mike Peters, the owner of Fondren Corner, told fellow building tenants that he would "be the bad guy" and move anti-abortion signs with graphic images of fetuses on the sidewalk outside the building.

The police stood near Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, on July 17 as Peters picked up each of the large portable signs and took them to his building's basement.

"It was horrible. If they would have had little signs like most of the locals have now ... we probably would have just let it ride, but these were horrible," Peters said. "Every 5 feet there was just another one, another one, another one."

Peters said an officer threatened him with arrest if he continued to take the anti-abortion group's property, but police declined to cuff or charge Peters with a crime as he quietly picked up the signs and put them in his building's basement as the anti-abortions questioned and filmed him.

"I'm not mad at you," Peters told the officer. "I know you've got to do whatever you've got to do. But I've got to do what I've got to do."

Yesterday, July 23, the Life Legal Defense Foundation filed a lawsuit for the anti-abortion activist group, Pro-Life Mississippi, against the Jackson Police Department.

The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Jackson this afternoon, alleges that JPD "has routinely harassed pro-life citizens, who have been peacefully exercising their legal right to oppose abortion in the public square and offer information about life-affirming alternatives to women seeking abortion."

The suit was filed one day after a pro-life group posted a video online of what they say are "Jackson police standing by as an individual stole the group's prolife display"—the protest Peters intervened in.

The group complains that the police did not stop Peters, even though the protesters got their signs back unharmed.

But the anti-abortion group who brought the signs, Created Equal, may have violated a city ordinance that prohibits portable signs like the ones placed on Fondren Corner's sidewalk last Thursday.

Peters told the Jackson Free Press that he believes JPD had orders from city hall not intervene with the illegally positioned signs. A call to Monica Joiner, the city attorney, was not immediately returned this morning.

"I think they knew that, 'Well, why should we arrest him for doing this, and yet we're letting them break the law, too? That's not right,'" Peters said.

Defendants named in the suit include former JPD Chief Lindsey Horton, whose retirement was announced Monday, July 21, Commander James McGowan and several other JPD officers. Shelia Byrd, city hall spokeswoman, declined comment, citing the pending litigation.

Meanwhile, the Created Equal video has gone viral, and Peters is still receiving obscene calls from anti-abortion activists across the nation.

Comments

tameradalati 3 years, 3 months ago

When my daughter was 5 we pulled up at a red light on Terry Rd. These people were out there with these horrible signs. They came to my window shoving those pictures in my daughters face...She was terrified. I had to pull over and calm her...There was no way to explain this type of graphic horror to a child! These people in my opinion are no better than Westboro Baptist church protesters. Stand up for what you believe. March, protest educate people that is our American rights but to do it in the manner is just wrong! How dare they use such graphic images. Will this change the minds of some? Who knows, but I can tell you the damage to the children that sees these pictures and to myself even is not right!

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matthew 3 years, 3 months ago

Good job Mr. Peters. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, there is a right way and a wrong way to voice your opinion and protest. Harassing women regularly at the clinic, or posting an overabundance number of obscene signs, especially in front of public eateries, and blocking the pedestrian sidewalks, is not the right way.

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833maple 3 years, 3 months ago

Shock and awe is not necessarily the best way to accomplish your goal in this case. The old saying goes "you can catch more flies with honey".

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geoh777 3 years, 2 months ago

So then, just how do you suggest to sugarcoat abortion, the killing of babies in the womb? If you say the're not babies, then leave them alone and see what happens. .

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MeredithHunt 3 years, 3 months ago

The right way is to arrest the abortionists, put them on trial and then incarcerate them in prison. But if society is not willing to do that, then those who care have little recourse than try to appeal to the conscience of people through the strongest method possible-by showing the terrible truth.

How do you explain an abortion image to a 5 year old? By saying, “It’s sad.”

How do you explain to a 5 year old, or any child, the reality we have allowed millions of pre-natal children to be murdered, and some even in our own neighborhood?

Anger at the signs is misdirected. Anger should be directed at abortionists, abortion lobbyists and activists, the church (for its silence), the public at large, and even one’s self for promoting, allowing, and tolerating the killing of children in the womb.

(I doubt pro-life people were shoving pictures in anyone’s face. )

If the pictures are horrible and shocking, it's because abortion is horrible and shocking. People should be upset over the REALITY not the vinyl and ink.

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Turtleread 3 years, 2 months ago

I saw the people and I saw the signs. While they may have a right to protest in front of the clinic, they do not have a right to protest across the street in front of a restaurant. As to the signs, they were large, ugly, and blocking the sidewalk. Like most of the ones who come to protest at the clinic, they were probably from out-of-state, or at least not from Jackson.

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