Just a day after agreeing to end their harassment campaign of Phoenix-area churches, members of a right-wing group took their act to a Methodist church in Prescott, where they livestreamed an immigration panel on Facebook.
Officials at the Prescott United Methodist Church discovered members of the AZ Patriots were in attendance and livestreaming when the church began receiving harassing phone calls mid-event, the Arizona Republic reports. Diane Iversen, a church leader in Prescott, said members of the group were “pushing the boundaries but they were not violating the boundaries” of free speech.
But if past is prologue, that may soon change.
The AZ Patriots previously engaged in a months-long harassment and intimidation campaign of several Phoenix churches that offered help to migrants who were dropped off at their doorsteps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Pastor Angel Campos of Iglesia Monte Vista in Phoenix was among those threatened, according to CNN. Campos decided to take legal action after receiving a voicemail saying his children should be raped.
After filing the suit in June, Campos told reporters that the threats and confrontations had taken a toll on him. “It’s terrifying,” he said. “It’s like terrorism and absolutely not acceptable.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center aided Campos and other local pastors in their lawsuit against AZ Patriots.
The SPLC said in the lawsuit that threatening calls like the one Campos received were meant to intimidate activists and parishioners and to “to stop them from assisting the immigrants.”
Faced with legal action, AZ Patriots reached a settlement last week, agreeing to stay off the property of the churches named in the suit. The group and four of its leaders also agreed not to not to grab, push, or shove anyone entering or leaving the churches. Under the terms of the consent decree, approved last Friday by U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi, the organization and its members are also barred from using megaphones and filming or photographing anyone within 50 feet of the churches.
The organization’s leaders also agreed that they will no longer falsely state that the churches or church employees are involved in human trafficking, sex trafficking or harboring fugitives.
The consent decree ends the legal suit against AZ Patriots and four of its members, Jennifer Harrison, Michael Pavlock, Eduardo Jaime and Jeremy Bronaugh.
If Saturday is any indication, though, they may simply be refocusing their efforts on churches not named in the lawsuit, such as the Prescott United Methodist Church.