If Raphael Warnock has trouble figuring out Easter, police in Alberta, Canada might have trouble figuring out Good Friday — and intrusion of religious worship. This video went viral over the weekend, thanks to pastor Artur Pawlowski’s fiery response to the police entry into his church. Apparently someone called to tip the police to the Good Friday worship service and they sent a half-dozen officers to shut it down.
Instead, Pawlowski shames them into retreat, but was the service in violation of Calgary’s 15% capacity rules for COVID-19 (via the Post-Millennial and Twitchy)?
It continued outside:
Part 2 pic.twitter.com/VKIIq4ibSs
— Tony (@Mrtdogg) April 3, 2021
Power Line’s Steven Hayward noted that this didn’t get much news coverage, but he did find this hastily put-together post at Florida News Times … under its “Entertainment” banner:
Check out this clip Artur Porowski Live from a church in Calgary posted on Sunday … he seemed to be worshiping to protect the Passover festival. The Passover Festival ends on the same day as Easter this year. His video features what he sees as he confronts some police officers and what looks like a local government worker who accompanies them … and things get hot quickly. ..
He repeatedly called them part of the “Nazis” and “Gestapo”, telling them that they were not welcomed there and that they would come back with a warrant if they wanted to shut down something.
Police and workers initially appear to be repulsing trying to explain the situation-someone seems to have called to complain about the number of people inside-but Pawlowski doesn’t have it I was … angry and give them boots.
The Washington Examiner has a brief explanation, along with the pastor’s correct name, Artur Pawlowski:
“Nazis are not welcome here! … Do not come back, you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don’t you dare come back here!” Pastor Artur Pawłowski can be heard shouting at the officers, who reportedly did not have a warrant.
The officers eventually were seen leaving the church.
Newsweek has a bit more on the incident:
Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church in Canada’s Alberta province posted a video to Facebook on Easter Sunday, which has since gone viral across social media. In the video, six local police officers can be seen demanding that church attendees “please get out, get out of this property, immediately get out!”
Responding the officers’ yells that the church was breaking pandemic rules, Pawlowski can be heard responding by calling the officers “Nazis” and names of other paramilitary forces used in Nazi-era Germany. …
In his Facebook post, Pawlowski claimed the officers were not there to uphold social distancing guidelines, but instead only sought to intimidate Christian worshipers during one of their most holy celebrations of the year.
“I don’t want to hear a word,” he told the officers. “Out! Out! Out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant, out.”
And just in case anyone thinks this is a stunt, the Calgary police put out a statement yesterday on the incident. They insist that they went to support a health inspector’s investigation of a “concern” over compliance:
Yesterday, Saturday, April 3, 2021, one uniformed member of the Calgary Police Service attended a call to assist our partner agencies, Alberta Health Services and City of Calgary Bylaw services, in relation to a religious gathering being held at the Street Church located at 4315 26 Ave. S.E.
The concern was that the people in attendance were not adhering to the government’s COVID-19 public health orders, which are in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
In attending public spaces, private homes, and businesses, we continue to strive for voluntary compliance with public health orders where that makes sense. The majority of Calgarians are understanding and cooperative. However, CPS is often asked to attend these calls in an effort to help keep the peace due to high levels of conflict between citizens and health inspectors.
One uniformed member? The video clearly shows several people in uniform, which certainly adds to an intimidation factor. There appear to be at least four uniformed officers inside the church at one point, plus two more officials in plainclothes. Perhaps the Calgary PD might want to keep better track of its personnel. It’s not clear how much leeway police in Canada have to make entry onto private property without warrants, but here in the US, that would have been illegal. The pastor clearly thought it was illegal and managed to intimidate the police into retreating, so perhaps they have similar restrictions.
It’s tough to know whether the church was actually in violation of the capacity regulation. From the video, it appeared that only a handful of worshippers were present at the time, but it’s worth noting that none of those pictured are wearing masks. However, if police want to make entry into private property to inspect for violations, they’d better bring warrants. Interrupting religious services on the most somber day in Christianity to waggle fingers over a misdemeanor without a warrant is stunningly stupid, not just in terms of law enforcement but in community relations as well. The Calgary PD are getting everything they deserve from this viral video.
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