ABORTION INDUSTRY IN MELBOURNE, FLORIDA
RANEY V CITY OF MELBOURNE
DOCKET / CHRONOLOGICAL FILE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 99-416-CIV-ORL-19B
MEREDITH T. RANEY, JR.,
CITY OF MELBOURNE, FLORIDA
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES AND OTHER RELIEF UNDER FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO CLINIC ENTRANCES (F.A.C.E.) ACT
Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., by and through his undersigned attorney, hereby sues the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida, saying:
1. This is a civil action seeking compensatory damages, and other relief for violation of that Act of Congress known as Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, 18 U.S.C. §248, hereinafter called F.A.C.E.. This Court has jurisdiction over this action because this is a civil action arising under the laws of the United States, according to 28 U.S.C. §1331, and also under 28 U.S.C. §1343 (a)(4), which confers original jurisdiction on district courts in civil actions to recover damages under an Act of Congress providing for the protection of civil rights. This action is authorized by F.A.C.E., 18 U.S.C. §248(c).
2. Venue is proper in the Middle District of Florida pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b), because the claims arose in this District and also because the Defendant is located in this District.
3. Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., is, and at all times material in this Complaint, has been a citizen of the United States and a resident of Brevard County, Florida.
4. Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida is, and at all times material in this Complaint, was a municipal corporation existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Florida. A copy of its corporate charter is attached hereto for reference as Exhibit "A".
5. There has been a law enforcement transformation in this country following the Roe v Wade decision on January 22, 1973 that decriminalized elective abortion. Prior to this decision, police departments certainly made no efforts to encourage or promote any abortion business. Gradually, though, municipal officials in many communities began to treat abortion clinics as 'sacred cows' where services, above and beyond the normal demands of duty, were sometimes supplied to the abortion industry in violation of the legal rights of those who know that elective abortion, like slavery and segregation, is wrong and were trying to do something constructive about this awful practice.
6. Some of the people who know elective abortion is wrong expressed their opinions by protest methods which did little to help the real victims of this brutal practice. Fortunately, there have been some caring people who reach out to the mothers and fathers of unborn children, offering love and help rather than debate or condemnation. These are the individuals sometimes called 'sidewalk counselors', but who are actually providers of reproductive health services as defined and protected by F.A.C.E..
7. These pro-life providers of reproductive health services for many years have suffered abuse at the hands of over-zealous police officials. However, since May 26, 1994, the effective date of F.A.C.E., such abuse is prohibited by Federal law and no longer can municipalities intentionally attempt to intimidate pro-life providers of reproductive health services with impunity. For that reason, this civil rights action is brought against the Defendant City of Melbourne, Florida by the Plaintiff Meredith T. Raney, Jr., one of these providers of reproductive health services protected by F.A.C.E.
8. Historically, F.A.C.E. has been portrayed by the media and therefore perceived by the general public as a law passed to protect abortion clinics. This is only part of the story; F.A.C.E. protects any provider of reproductive health services whether the services are geared toward abortion as a solution or toward other solutions to the bad circumstances that make parents desperate enough to pay to have their own children killed.
9. Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., is a provider of reproductive health services as defined by F.A.C.E. , 18 U.S.C. §248(e)(5), and has been such at all times material to this Complaint.
10. Hope Adoption Agency and Aware Woman Center For Choice are businesses located at 1564 Dixie Way, Melbourne, Florida within the Melbourne City limits. These businesses are located on privately owned real estate adjacent to the buffer zone described in Madsen v. Woman's Health Center, Inc. 114 S. Ct. 2516 (1994). The private property together with the buffer zone constitute a reproductive health service facility according to F.A.C.E., 18 U.S.C. §248 (e)(1) at all times material to this Complaint.
11. At numerous times, the exact number of which will be determined hereafter, Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr. sought to be inside the boundary of said facility, providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services as defined by F.A.C.E., such as: counseling women and men as to the spiritual, moral, medical, physical and psychological health aspects of adoption, pregnancy termination, fetal development, and prenatal care; and offering financial assistance and written referral information to other related care-givers, not only when said women and men were entering the facility but also upon their leaving.
12. Because he was seeking to be so engaged in the facility, Plaintiff Meredith T. Raney, Jr. was subjected to unlawful intentional attempted intimidation by the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida, that prevented him from providing reproductive health services as defined by F.A.C.E. in the 1564 Dixie Way facility. The Defendant utilized its police officers and equipment to commit such violations of F.A.C.E. on numerous occasions.
13. Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida, unlawfully intentionally attempted to intimidate Plaintiff by ordering its policemen to enter the F.A.C.E. facility at 1564 Dixie Way, Melbourne, Florida and to remain there on duty for hours on end, armed with semi-automatic weapons and sufficient ammunition to kill large numbers of people and also armed with other weapons sufficient to administer death and serious bodily injury to persons such as the Plaintiff, on such days as abortions were being performed.
14. Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., was reasonably intimidated and in fear that the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida intended to obstruct him physically or harm him in the event that he entered into the facility in order to attempt to perform, reproductive health services as defined by F.A.C.E.
15. These fears were validated by Plaintiff's witness of mutiple physical obstructions of people in the facility by employees of the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida.
16. By this program of intentional attempted intimidation, Defendant violated the civil rights of Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., under F.A.C.E. and willfully caused him suffering and the need to incur attorney's fees and the various costs in bringing this action.
17. Any person who brought deadly weapons to the facility to intentionally attempt to intimidate the Plaintiff would be liable for the violations set forth herein; the Melbourne City Police are no exception.
18. Any entitlement to notice of the present claims of the Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., pursuant to Florida Statute §768.28 was waived by the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida on account of the letters furnished it prior to its unlawful activity as shown in the three letters, the first being from Plaintiff to the City Manager of Defendant, dated April 15, 1993, the second being from Plaintiff to the City Attorney for the Defendant, dated April 19, 1993 and the third being from James Whittle to the Defendant, dated May 4, 1993, copies of which letters are attached hereto as Exhibit "B" , Exhibit "C" and Exhibit "D" and in the public address made by the Plaintiff to the City Council of the Defendant, on January 23, 1996, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "E".
19. Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida, specifically owed Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., protection under F.A.C.E., not only because of the terms of this statute, but also because Defendant's Charter at Sec. 3.11 (Exhibit "A") requires the Defendant's Melbourne Police Department to enforce Federal laws.
20. Numerous violations of F.A.C.E. occurred between June 30, 1994, and June 8, 1996 as part of the defendant's program of intentional attempted intimidations. The violations which occurred on January 28, 1995, April 26, 1995 and January 24, 1996 , covered in Raney v. Aware Woman, et al, 97-1197-CIV-ORL-19B, are specifically excluded from this Complaint.
21. A violation of F.A.C.E., 18 U. S. C. §248, occurred each time that there was no pro-life reproductive health service such as counseling or the providing of referral information offered to a person in need of such advice or information at the facility at 1564 Dixie Way, Melbourne, Florida on account of the intentional attempted intimidation of the Plaintiff by the Defendant.
22. According to the statements contained in the letter from Patricia Baird-Windle, President and C.E.O. of the F.A.C.E. facility at 1564 Dixie Way, to Defendant's Chief of Police, Keith Chandler, dated August 4, 1993, copy of which is attached hereto for reference as Exhibit "F", the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida committed more than 4,000 violations of Plaintiff's rights under F.A.C.E..
23. Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., elects to receive statutory damages of $5,000.00 per violation of F.A.C.E., 18 U.S.C. §248 (c)(1)(b), from the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida; the total statutory damages therefore exceed the amount of $20,000,000.00.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, Meredith T. Raney, Jr., prays that this Honorable Court will accept jurisdiction of this cause and, upon finding for the Plaintiff, enter final judgment against the Defendant, City of Melbourne, Florida for violations of F.A.C.E., 18 U.S.C. §248, thus awarding Plaintiff statutory damages, interest, the costs of this action including expert witness fees and a reasonable attorney's fee, together with all other relief as the Court deems just.
Christopher F. Sapp <signed>
Post Office Box 1012
Lehigh Acres, Florida 33970
Florida Bar No.: 0097823
Attorney for Plaintiff
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been furnished
by U.S. Mail to Lamar Oxford, Esquire, Attorney for the Defendant, Post Office Box 2928, Orlando, Florida 32802 this 7th day of April, 1999.
Christopher F. Sapp <signed>
The Charter of the City of Melbourne
Sec. 3.11. Police Department.
The police department under a chief of police shall be responsible for the enforcement of federal and state laws and city ordinances.
2488 Burns Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32935
April 15, 1993
City Manager Sam Halter
Melbourne City Hall
900 E Strawbridge Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32901
As a Melbourne taxpayer, I object to my taxes being spent by the Melbourne Police Department to enforce the civil injunction that creates a buffer zone around the Aware Woman Clinic. According to the injunction, police are "authorized" but not required to arrest people violating this injunction.
In this civil case the Clinic doesn't need police involvement to enforce their injunction. All the Clinic has to do it identify people they believe are in violation to the judge. The judge can then issue a subpoena calling the suspected violators before him to answer charges. This process would normally cost the Clinic money except that the police did it for them last Saturday using taxpayer money.
By arresting suspected violators of the injunction when the Clinic has other avenues of enforcement as described above, the Melbourne Police Department has shown favoritism toward the Clinic side of the abortion issue at the taxpayers expense. They should stop this immediately.
In addition the city has opened itself up to all kinds of possible false arrest litigation by choosing to get involved unnecessarily in enforcing this civil injunction that is on very shaky constitutional grounds to say the least.
I urge you to immediately instruct the Melbourne Police Department to stop spending tax money to enforce a civil injunction that the Clinic has every right to enforce on its own without the help of the police department.
Meredith Raney <signed>
cc: Mayor Joe Mullins, Vice-Mayor Loretta Isenberg, Councilman John BuckIey, Councilman Sandy Mavrelis, Councilwoman Pat Poole, Councilwoman Grace Walker, Councilwoman Grace Walker, City Attorney James Reinman
2488 Burns Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32935
April 19, 1993
City Attorney James Reinman
P.O. Box 639
Melbourne, FL 32902-0639
Dear Mr. Reinman,
On 4/15/93 I sent a letter to City Manager Sam Halter asking him to stop spending my tax money to enforce Judge McGregor's injunction at the Aware Woman Clinic. He replied on 4/16/93 that his legal counsel (I assume that is you) has advised that "If violations of the injunction occur, the Police must take action." The injunction states "Law enforcement authorities ... are authorized to arrest those who appear to be in willful and intentional disobedience of this injunction." (Underlining mine.)
There is a big difference in the meanings of the words "authorized" and "must". If a bank gives me a credit card that "authorizes" me to charge up to $5,000, this in no way means that I "must" charge anything.
It is obvious to anyone who can understand English that the City of Melbourne has purposely made a choice to side with the Aware Woman Clinic on this issue at the taxpayers expense. The Clinic has every right and ability to enforce this injunction without any help from the police. They can provide evidence of violations to Judge McGregor who can then review the evidence and issue subpoenas to bring suspected violators before him to answer charges. This process does not require the police to do anything. It would, however, require the Clinic to spend time, effort, and money that they are presently not having to spend because the police are doing it for them at taxpayer expense. This is a civil injunction and as such should be handled by the civil parties involved. The police should stay out of it unless some criminal law is broken.
I would like an explanation as to how the word "authorize" in the injunction got translated into the word "must" in the letter from the City Manager to me dated 4/16/93.
cc: Mayor Joe Mullins, Vice-Mayor Loretta Isenberg, Councilman John Buckley, Councilman Sandy Mavrelis, Councilman Bill Conner, City Manager Sam Halter
3020 Ontario Cir E
Melbourne, FL 32935
City of Melbourne
Office of City Manager
900 East Strawbridge Ave
Melbourne, FL 32901
RE: Agenda Item for City Council Meeting, Tuesday May 11, 1993.
Agenda Item: City's Response to Court Injunction - Case # 91-2811-CA-16-K, Circuit Court, 18th Judicial Circuit, Seminole County, FL, which prohibits the respondents from any activity within a 36' buffer zone of the Aware Woman Clinic.
As the Council is well aware, Circuit Judge John B. McGregor has handed down a permanent injunction that establishes among other things, a buffer zone of 36 feet around the Aware Clinic. The injunction specifically names respondents who are not allowed to be in that buffer zone, among other restrictions. To date the city's response has been to arrest anyone who has entered that buffer zone, except for those people who are representatives or clients of the clinic. The question I am raising is, "Is that the proper response of the City?"; and, "Is that the only response of the City?". Regardless of popular or local opinion, the City must abide by the injunction until, and if, the injunction is overturned upon appeal. The City, nor its Police Department, may act as an appellate court and simply disregard this order. They must act according to the stipulations of the order. That is established legal precedent. The issues that I want to raise before the Council and have reviewed and acted upon are based on the assumption that the city must follow the order.
With the given assumption that the City must follow the order, are there other responses that the City can make? The answer is 'Yes.' The individuals on the City Council have each taken an oath of office that includes protecting and defending the Constitution and Government of the United States of America, and the State of Florida. In practical terms that means that the City Council is obligated to follow the laws of the USA and the laws of Florida, including Court Orders. But it also means the City must respond on behalf of its citizens when those laws or orders are thought to be unconstitutional. The action does not mean defiance of the law or order, but rather using the legal means necessary to see that the law or order is overturned in a court of law. If the majority of the City Council believes that this injunction is unjust and unconstitutional, then it cannot simply be left to the defendants in the case to file for redress of grievances, but must also include the City. This injunction strikes at the very heart of the 1st Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, and right to peaceful assembly. It also denies the defendants of equal access. Therefore it behooves the City to be named as Co-Plaintiff in the appellate cases being filed for the defendants and respondents.
The second issue is that of interpretation. The question is, "Who exactly is named in the injunction?", therefore, "Who should and must be arrested for breaking the injunction?". Again the City is not to be an appellate court, but legal precedence throughout this State and Country is that only those who are named in an injunction can actually break the injunction. A Court cannot enjoin the general public. This injunction lists specific organizations and people who are enjoined by the stipulations in the injunction. The injunction also says, "and all persons acting in concert or participation with them". Clearly a standard interpretation of this injunction means that if the named respondents break the injunction, that they should and must be arrested, and all those who are participating in the same activity as the respondents when the respondents break the injunction. The problem is, that not a single respondent has been in the buffer zone. How, then can the Police Department arrest anyone who is in the buffer zone? How can someone in the general population break this injunction if the respondents are not there, or unless the Police have inconvertible evidence that there is a conspiracy?
The third issue addresses how the Police Department have decided who is breaking the injunction. The answer is that the MPD has allowed the personnel of the Aware Clinic to decide. This sounds astounding, but is nevertheless true. No one, including the MPD, can tell whether someone is pro-life or pro-choice simply by looking at them. It is impossible! So the MPD has asked the personnel of the Aware Clinic to tell them who is who! Instead of the City or the MPD interpreting the injunction, they have defaulted to let the clinic decide. And lest you doubt my word about this, simply check the video tape of the arrests. This must stop!
Finally, I'd like to implore the City to act. Although the City and the MPD are protected from general lawsuits for false arrest, there is one legal area in which this is not so. That is the area of civil rights violations. A recent clear example of this is the Rodney King case. Certainly the City and the MPD have not acted in a violent manner as those officers did, but the Federal Government gives the right for Civil Rights violations to be redressed in a court of law. And if the City might think it expensive to file suit against the injunction, that expense will pale compared to the litigation and fines if the City and the MPD are found guilty of Federal Civil Rights violations. I do not mention this as a threat - I am neither a respondent or a defendant, I have not broken the injunction. But, I do know those who are in those positions and there is a high probability this will happen. So I appeal to your better judgment to join the side of Civil Rights before it is too late. I also appeal to your sense of justice and obligation to the constitution. To act as I have asked on these matters is the right thing to do, not simply the expedient thing to do.
1. Since the officers of the City believe this injunction is unconstitutional, I ask the city to file whatever appeals necessary to overturn this injunction. I also ask the City to file for a temporary stay of the injunction until the appeals are heard. I also ask that the City be named as Co-Plaintiff in the appeals already in process.
2. I ask that the City of Melbourne and its Law Enforcement Officers adhere to a strict interpretation of this injunction and only arrest named respondents. I ask also that the interpretation of "in concert or participation with them" (pg 5), not to include shared views (a clear violation of the 1st amendment) but be limited to those people who are physically present inside the buffer zone with the named respondents, if and when the named respondents violate the injunction. Page 9 of the injunction specifically says that "demonstrations in this area are limited by court order." The injunction does not say that demonstrations are prohibited. I ask that the city interpret this as limited only to the named respondents.
3. I ask that all charges be dropped for those who have been arrested up to this point, because the named respondents have not been physically present at any time during those arrests.
4. I ask that the Melbourne Police cease and desist from using the Aware Woman Center personnel as the interpreters of who is in violation of this injunction.
5. I ask that the City and the Police Department find a more reasonable use of tax payer dollars than to consistently have numerous Police Officers at the Aware Woman Clinic whenever they call. This is gross misuse of funds and means the rest of the city is under guarded. Example: On Thursday, April 15, there was a meeting of about 25 local Pastors at the house across from the Clinic. These Pastors met for information on the injunction and to pray. One of these Pastors could not believe that he could be arrested in the USA for being on a public sidewalk. And so he went into the buffer zone and walked around on the sidewalk. He did not say anything, he purposefully did not look at anyone going in or out of the clinic. He was the only one present in the buffer zone, he was the only one who left the house. Within thirty minutes there were 6 police vehicles on the scene, an un-marked police car, a city van, numerous uniformed policemen, a policeman in SWAT outfit, a police video cameraman and a K-9 unit. This is unreasonable and nonsensical. I ask the Police to use their budget in a more reasonable fashion.
6. I ask that the Mayor hold a Press Conference and publicly state the actions that the City plans to take.
James Whittle <signed>
Presentation to Melbourne City Council Meeting
January 23, 1996, Item 15 on Agenda
by Meredith Raney
It was 23 years ago yesterday that the U.S. Supreme court legalized abortion. After 23 years, 83% of the counties in the U.S. still do not have an abortion clinic. Brevard County is one of the minority 17% that has one, the Aware Woman Center for Choice. Unfortunately it happens to be in the City of Melbourne. Over 25,000 defenseless unborn human beings have been slaughtered there and many of their mothers have been hurt in the process. One mother, Maureen Tyke, died four days after having an abortion there. The yellow flyer in your hand-out tells Maureen's story.
Understandably, there has been much protest activity on the public property around the clinic trying to stop this slaughter. In 1993, Judge McGregor issued an injunction against three organizations and six individuals and all persons acting in concert with them. This injunction requires these respondents to stay outside of a 36 foot buffer zone created on public property. To this day all of the named parties have obeyed the injunction and stayed out of the buffer zone.
In 1993, 104 people, none of them named on the injunction, were convicted of violating this injunction. These trials were before a judge who was brought out of retirement from north Florida just for these trials. He was not accountable to the citizens of Brevard county. Also, no jury trial was allowed.
All 104 defendants believe that they were unjustly convicted. They were acting on their own not "in concert" with anyone. They were on public property where they had every right to be as members of the public. No judge had ever told them to stay out of the buffer zone.
In the Madsen case in June of 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 36 foot buffer zone part of the injunction as it applies to named parties. Since no non-parties were plaintiffs in the case, no ruling was made about the "in concert" clause.
In the Alf case in the fall of 1995, the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear the case of the 104 non-parties even though it had basically invited this case in the opinion written in the Madsen case. So here we stand with no clear, definitive ruling on the "in concert" part of this injunction.
Since June 1994, there have been 20 injunction violation charges made by the Melbourne Police Department. A listing of these 20 cases is in your hand-out. Not one of these 20 cases has been brought to trial. They have all been dismissed.
The City Attorney is quoted in the newspaper as saying, "The injunction has been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. It doesn't get any better than that." If this were true, why wasn't the book thrown at me when I was arrested twice more on the exact same charge. Normally that's what happens to repeat offenders. Instead both cases were dismissed.
At some point arrest with the knowledge that there will be no prosecution becomes harassment. Being dragged off to jail, having to post bond, and then having to show up for as many as 9 court dates, as in Mr. Satabe's case (no. 15) over a period of 9 months, just to see the charges dropped is harassment. This is unconstitutional. The sixth amendment to our Constitution guarantees that an accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial and to be confronted with the witnesses against him. This is not happening in the case of these injunction arrests.
Council members, consider the financial risk to the City. The City Attorney's statement in his letter of January 17, 1996 that "there have not been any lawsuits filed against the City concerning arrests at the clinic." may be technically correct. However, ask him about the McKusick vs. City of Melbourne case which is currently before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Ms. McKusick was not arrested, but she was threatened with arrest for returning to the site of the loss of her child as a patient of Aware Woman several months before to pray, grieve, and read her Bible on public property in front of the place where she lost her child.
Also ask him about Shauna Curphy who was arrested in April 1993 and charged with the injunction violation. Shauna was never taken to trial and sued the City for false arrest. Shauna settled for $6,000 paid by the City's insurance company in lieu of going to court. The City Attorney is quoted in the newspaper as saying,"I think the city is immune from any lawsuit of this nature." If this is the case, why did the City's insurance company pay out this $6,000? I suggest you get a second opinion from an attorney who is more confident in his opinion that saying, "I think ..." There is a lot at stake here.
Consider Mr. Dugas (no. 9), a member of the Brevard County Republican Executive Committee, who lives across the street from Aware Woman. His mailbox is in the buffer zone. He was arrested while going to his own mailbox to mail a letter. He has retained a lawyer and started the process to sue the city for false arrest.
Consider Mr. Rogers (no.18), who also lives across the street from Aware Woman and was arrested on the sidewalk in front of his own home while holding a sign displaying his legally registered fictitious name.
Consider Mr. Lesteourgeon (no. 2, 10, and 20) who has tried three times to get a case to trial. He has retained a lawyer to sue the City for false arrest.
Consider Mr. Lignelli (no. 3) who is also a member of the Brevard County Republican Executive Committee, and was threatened with arrest while campaigning in the area of Aware Woman during the last political season and happened to get in the buffer zone. As a result of this threat, he has been added as an additional plaintiff in the Cheffer vs. McGregor case that is in Federal Court in Orlando. Melbourne's Police Chief, Keith Chandler, is a defendant in this case.
Consider Mr. Carroll (no. 5) lives one block south of the clinic. He was arrested while walking around the block in his own neighborhood when he happened to walk thru the buffer zone. He is considering a lawsuit against the City for false arrest.
I want all the people here who have ever been arrested at Aware Woman to stand up.
Mr. Mayor and council, these are not terrorists as some have accused, these are your friends, your neighbors, your voters that happen to have a concern for God's innocent unborn children that are being slaughtered at the Aware Woman clinic in direct defiance of God's sixth commandment, "Thou shall not kill."
Tonight I am not going to ask you to stop arresting anybody. I am simply going to ask you to have the police department be sure that they have evidence and can document proof of the "in concert" charge before making an arrest of a non-party to the injunction. The name of the specific party or parties to the injunction that the arrestee is being accused of being "in concert" with should be on the arrest form. Statements like, "He came from across the street" that were used in past arrests do not meet the requirements of being "in concert with." Lack of this evidence is the main reason that the State Attorney has not been able to take these cases to trial. There has just been no evidence provided by the police department for the State Attorney to work with.
I believe this is a reasonable request that cannot be legitimately criticized by anyone and will also protect the city from any additional lawsuits.
Aware Woman Center for Choice
1564 Dixie Way
Melbourne, Florida 32935
August 4, 1993
Chief Keith Chandler
Melbourne Police Department
650 N. Apollo Blvd.
Melbourne FL 32901
Dear Chief Chandler:
You are probably aware of the situation concerning the tracking of license plates by Meredith Raney and his conspiratorial thugs. By making swarms of calls and written complaints to your department, they effectively confuse the issue. This is what I call collateral harassment which is also experienced by media and virtually anyone who deals with us. They test limits like bad children. In the obvious "camera visible" ways, the injunction is yielding us good results, but Raney and the other radicals are attempting end run maneuvers at every turn.
It is uncomfortable that I had to be the one to realize this strategy would provide definitive help. It is easy for your officers lose sight of the balance of rights here. Though I cannot generate the many calls that the pulpit-driven extremists can, I nonetheless intend to pursue this issue with every resource at my command. (See letter to Governor's Office) A full scale investigation and prosecution under 836.05 is warranted. One might wonder why, since the Governor pointed out the usefulness of this law in March that nothing has been done.
An additional factor is the ever present possibility of an accompanying parent or partner being pushed to their already stressed limits, then countering by attacking the license plate trackers. Incidents of this type occur frequently. The possibility of escalation is always present when these religious extremists are inciting the situation. (I wonder what you - or any of us - might do if challenged in such a way if it was your wife or daughter?)
We see more than 100 women per week (approximately 8,000 a year including their families.) Most of them are registered to vote or register at our behest. They solicit and listen to our suggestions at election time. If, at any time in the future, you choose to run for elective office, we will be pleased to help you in any way we can.
Please give this your most thorough and prompt attention. I hope you decide that protecting the rights of women seeking legal health care is a more important factor than placating harassers.
Patricia Baird-Windle, President and C.E.O.
Aware Woman Centers for Choice
Ph. 407-676-4606 (after 11 am., please.)
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