Eleven defendants charged with obstructing Tennessee reproductive health services facility | Takeover bid
A federal indictment unsealed today charges 11 people with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Coleman Boyd, Caroline Davis, Paul Vaughn, Dennis Green, Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow and Paul Place have been charged with federal offenses in connection with an alleged blockade of a clinic in reproductive health care in Mount Juliet, Tennessee on March 5, 2021. Gallagher, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis, Vaughn, and Dennis Green were charged with conspiracy for civil rights. The 11 defendants were charged with an offense under the Law on Freedom of Access to Entrances to Clinics (FACE Law).
The indictment returned by a federal grand jury alleges that Gallagher, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis, Vaughn and Green engaged in a conspiracy to prevent the clinic from providing and patients from receiving health services reproductive. According to the indictment, as part of the conspiracy, Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Boyd, Davis and Green traveled to Tennessee from other states to participate in a blockade of clinics organized by Gallagher, Idoni and others. others.
The indictment alleges that beginning in February 2021, Gallagher used social media to promote a series of anti-abortion events scheduled for March 4-7, 2021 in the Nashville area. Other co-conspirators then used Facebook to coordinate travel and logistics and to identify other participants in the blockade. On March 4, 2021, Boyd and Gallagher announced the blockade of the clinic at Carafem Health Center, Mount Juliet, Tennessee, which was scheduled for the following day. In his social media post, Gallagher called the blockade a “lifesaver”. Boyd also launched a Facebook live stream of the clinic blockade at 7:45 a.m. on March 5, 2021. This live stream was titled, in part, “Mount Juliet, Tennessee, Rescue March 5, 2021,” and livestreamed the blockade event as his co-conspirators and others blocked the entrance doors to the clinic and prevented a patient and employee from entering. The livestream also featured band members attempting to engage a patient and her mate as Boyd told his live audience that the patient was a “mom coming to kill her baby”.
The indictment further alleges that on March 5, 2021, the 11 individuals, aided and abetted by each other, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with clinic employees and a patient seeking reproductive health services.
The indictment also alleges that the 11 defendants violated FACE law by using physical obstruction to intimidate and interfere with clinic employees and a patient because the clinic was providing and the patient was seeking reproductive health services. All defendants will have scheduled appearances in U.S. District Court in Nashville at a later date.
If convicted of the offenses, the seven conspiracy defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of probation and fines of up to $350,000. The other five defendants face a year in prison, a year of probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin of the Middle District of Tennessee made the announcement.
The FBI investigated the case. Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Civil Rights Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee are pursuing the case.
Anyone with information about incidents of violence, threats and obstruction of a patient or reproductive health service provider, or damage and destruction to reproductive health care facilities, should report such information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov. For more information about violence in clinics and the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce violations of the FACE Act, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive -health-care-providers.
The charges contained in an indictment are only allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.