MURRIETA, Calif. – The criminal trial for two men who were arrested for reading the Bible aloud outside of a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office began on Monday.
The incident occurred in February 2011 when Pastor Brett Coronado, Mark Mackey and Edward Florez, Jr. went to the DMV in Hemet early one morning to evangelize those who were waiting for the facility to open. As they stood in the publicly-owned parking lot, approximately 40 feet from the entrance, Mackey began to read out loud from the Bible.
However, soon after, he was approached by a security officer at the DMV, who asked him to move elsewhere. The men then asserted that they had a First Amendment right to engage in their activities, and Mackey continued to read from the Scriptures. Approximately 10 minutes later, California patrol officer Darrin Meyer arrived on the scene, grabbed Mackey’s Bible, and put him in handcuffs. He informed the men that they could not “preach to a captive audience.”
“You can preach on your own property,” Meyer said.
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