Abortion protester sues, claiming police harassment
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A man filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh and police Chief Nate Harper Tuesday, alleging that he is being harassed by police while demonstrating at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Liberty Avenue.
Keith Tucci, a known pro-life advocate, filed the lawsuit against the city, as well as against Officer Bryan R. Sellers, who he claims regularly patrols the clinic and has a vendetta against protesters.
A permanent injunction governing behavior at the clinic was entered in December 2009. It requires a 15-foot buffer zone around the entry of any medical office that provides abortions, to keep protesters away from patients and medical providers that enter there.
According to the lawsuit, Officer Sellers issued Mr. Tucci a citation for defiant trespass on Jan. 24, 2010, alleging that he violated the bubble zone. On the citation, the officer listed Mr. Tucci as a "known anti-abortion activist."
Mr. Tucci, who said he had simply passed through the buffer zone on a public sidewalk, was later found not guilty at a hearing before Magisterial District Judge Oscar J. Petite.
The suit includes claims for violations of Mr. Tucci's First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion, as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
First Published August 4, 2010 12:00 am