A central Ohio pro-life group is seeking restitution after a man damaged its signs at a demonstration.
The attack on the signs happened Wednesday afternoon outside Beechcroft High School as school was letting out for the day. A group called Created Equal was staging a demonstration with signs displaying graphic images of aborted fetuses. The group members were on the sidewalk in front of the school when a man who lives across the street approached them.
“Get them off or I'll take them,” the man could be heard yelling on video shot by Created Equal. The video shows the man growing increasingly angry with the pro-life demonstration until he starts damaging the signs.
"He took this one….and ripped it in half,” said Jami Beer, Created Equal's Director of Campus Outreach.
10TV spoke with the man, who is not being identified because he has not been charged with a crime. He says he is neither pro-life nor pro-choice - he just thinks the demonstration is inappropriate. The man says he is willing to cover the cost of the damage.
Beer says her group stages demonstrations outside central Ohio high schools a couple of times a week. She says the graphic images they use drive home the reality of abortion. "We were just reaching out to the students there, informing them of what abortion looks like--the aftermath of abortion,” Beer said. "There's no way you can put a pretty bow on it. That's what happens and a lot of students don't know."
Encounters like the one Wednesday are not anything new for the group.
"We've had this happen unfortunately too often,” said Created Equal executive director Mark Harrington. “We had it happen last summer." That attack in downtown Columbus last July made national news.
Harrington says the number of violent outbursts against his group is growing. "We want to do this peacefully,” Harrington said. ‘We want to do this in a civilized manner. We want people to respect our rights to the first amendment as we respect their rights to disagree."
Created Equal says it wants restitution for the damaged signs and will let the prosecutor determine what happens to the man.
"He needs to learn a lesson,” Harrington said. “You just don't do this."