Ed Snell, 69, received serious injuries that doctors feared could have cost him his life during an attack on December 22, 2007, outside the Hillcrest Abortion Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The responding female officer not only let the attacker go, but threatened to arrest witnesses that identified the perpetrator and demanded his arrest.
Mr. Snell was standing on a sturdy platform he had attached to the top of his vehicle in order to offer help to women over a fence that had been erected to prevent pro-lifers from speaking to them. Witness John McTernan said that a man who was escorting a woman into the abortion clinic, “leaped on the vehicle with Ed and catapulted him off of the vehicle and onto the ground.” Mr. Snell struck the pavement with his head. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated for multiple trauma, bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain, compression fractures of four vertebrae, right scapula fracture, and fracture of the fourth and fifth ribs.
Three officers arrived to investigate but allowed the perpetrator to leave the scene. When Mr. McTernan objected and demanded an arrest, the female officer threatened to arrest him for interfering with a police investigation. ( Click here to read the entire story.)
“It is unbelievable that an officer would allow an attacker to go free after inflicting life-threatening injuries on an elderly gentleman, then threaten to arrest the witness to the crime,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “That was not only unprofessional conduct, but it showed a fundamental lack of respect for Mr. Snell’s life and beliefs. She should face serious discipline.”
Mr. Snell was released from the hospital the following day. His recovery is expected to take a full 8 weeks. Meanwhile, upon learning the seriousness of Mr. Snell’s injuries, the police finally arrested and charged the man with felony assault.
This incident adds to a growing list of attacks on pro- lifers in recent months, which have all included unprofessional police conduct. Operation Rescue recommends that pro-lifers establish regular communications with local police supervisors in order to educate them as to the peaceful nature of pro-life activities and their protection under the First Amendment.
Any concerns about Harrisburg Bureau of Police conduct may be addressed to:
Police Chief Charles Keller
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