Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have said they would not be charging a group of Bible-preaching protesters who threatened to rape a woman at a gay event because no one came forward with a “specific complaint”.
The protesters – allegedly a Christian black supremacist group called the Black Hebrew Israelites – were filmed shouting at a woman celebrating at Grand Rapids’ inaugural Gay Day celebration.
The event was organised by the human rights group Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) to showcase the city’s diversity.
In the protest, which was filmed and posted on YouTube, one protester was heard to say: “Back in the day there was no free power, there was no going to the mall. There was, ‘sit your ass in this house until I bring my ass home.”
Another added: “And if your ass get to going out there like you said, guess what? You get raped. And that’s what’s going to happen to you . . . do you understand?”
After one man claimed “the Lord said that”, the woman challenged him to find the corresponding Bible verse. He responded with “Isaiah 13: ‘Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.’ What does ‘ravished’ mean? It means we going to rape your ass. And I’m going to have fun doing that. And you going to like that. I promise you.”
Lieutenant Mark Ostapowicz said: “The Gay Day celebration group was upset that [this] Bible group was able to protest, but in their protest they weren’t doing anything wrong, according to the [responding police officer’s] report.
“When the officers got there they were not threatening each other. As long as they’re not breaking any of the protest rules, there’s nothing we can do. As of right now, we just have two groups in disagreement with each other. Nothing happened that led the officers to do more.”
In response, TEAM said on their website: “It is our position that these actions should not be tolerated in this community, and that the perpetrators of such actions be brought to justice. Hate speech that incites violence, rape and other criminal actions is not constitutionally protected.
“It is our hope that the Grand Rapids Police Department will formally charge these men for these atrocious and unwelcome actions in our community.”
WWMT News reported that the protest group were a rapidly spreading movement preaching “a frightening, racist theology that says Jesus Christ is returning soon to kill or enslave white people, Jews, homosexuals, and others.”
The video, which contains violent and offensive language and is NSFW can be viewed here