LANSING – Officials from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department and the Delta Township Fire department are contradicting reports about a Nov. 9 protest held at Mt. Hope Church. The protest on Nov. 9 was held by a self-described anarchist gay group called Bash Back! Lansing. The protest, according to reports from the media, the church and the protestors, were held both inside and outside the conservative evangelical church located on Lansing’s west side.
All the reports indicate a fire alarm was also pulled during the protest. However, Delta Township Fire Department, which covers fire issues in the area, said today they had not received any fire alarm calls nor did they respond to one in the area of the church on Sunday.
A press release from the church states:
“The Eaton County Sheriff’s office was called and the illegal demonstration ceased.”
But in an interview yesterday, Eaton County Sheriff Lt. Jeff Warder said when the two officers arrived on the scene at about noon, they found protestors on the public sidewalk. Officers were called to the scene for “disorderly persons.”
“They were picketing,” Warder said. “The church security people came out, the pastor contacted the deputies and told us we want them off our property. We had to tell them they (the protesters) were on public property.”
After further discussion with protestors, it was determined some had parked in the church’s parking lot, and officers directed that the vehicles be removed from the lot, or the owners could face trespassing charges for retrieving them if police had to return. The protest broke up as a result of that.
Warder said that at no time did the church inform officers of the disruption inside the church, and that no charges were filed. He also said there was no criminal investigation underway and the church had declined to file any formal complaints.