Abortion protester challenges Pittsburgh citation
An abortion protester claims in a federal lawsuit that Pittsburgh police violated his constitutional rights on Jan. 24 when Officer Bryan Sellers cited him for defiant trespass for walking in front of a Downtown abortion clinic.
Keith Tucci says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that he wasn’t carrying a sign or otherwise demonstrating on the public sidewalk on Liberty Avenue. He was issued the citation because he’s a “known protestor,” the lawsuit says.
Tucci’s lawyer, Larry Paladin, said the city ordinance creating a 15-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics’ entrances bans protests and demonstrations, but not walking.
“You’re allowed to walk on the sidewalk,” he said.
The zone is also supposed to apply to anyone, not just those opposed to abortions, but police have only cited abortion protesters for entering the 15-foot-radius, he said
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction to bar police from citing people for walking in front of the clinics.
A spokeswoman for the city couldn’t be reached.