Home»National & World News»Police investigate alleged attack on pro-lifers outside DC Planned Parenthood

Police investigate alleged attack on pro-lifers outside DC Planned Parenthood

Pinterest WhatsApp

Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department has launched an investigation after two pro-life sidewalk counselors were allegedly attacked outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic on July 22.

A group of pro-life sidewalk counselors, who were there to encourage women to choose life for their preborn babies rather than obtain an abortion, were gathered along with other pro-life activists outside of the Planned Parenthood location at 4th Street, Northeast, on Saturday morning. A verbal altercation between pro-abortion passersby and one of the activists ensued around 11:40 a.m. and quickly turned violent.

The public incident report provided to CNA by the police states that two suspects approached the pro-life activists and engaged in a verbal confrontation, which led to one of the suspects throwing coffee at one of the activists. When one sidewalk counselor tried to stop the altercation, one of the suspects “assaults [the victim] by slamming [him] to the ground and then punches [him] several times,” according to the report.

Terrisa Bukovinac, the founder of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, told CNA that she was the one who had the coffee thrown at her. She said two pro-abortion passersby “were screaming at us and they were screaming [expletive] you,” to which Bukovinac responded with the same insult.

One of the passersby responded, “Say that to my face,” to which she responded, “Why don’t you come over here,” she said.

The passersby, one man and one woman who were walking their dog on the other side of the street, crossed the street at this point, according to Bukovinac. She said one of them threw coffee at her, but she could not tell who threw it.

“The next thing I know, I had coffee all over me,” Bukovinac said.

Mike Gribbin, a sidewalk counselor who isn’t affiliated with any specific organization, told CNA that he believes it was the woman who threw the coffee at Bukovinac. Gribbin intervened in the altercation, which ultimately led to the man grabbing him, he said.

“The exchange got fairly heated and the woman walked into the street to come to our side of the sidewalk and she and Terrisa were shouting at each other,” Gribbin said. “The woman threw her coffee on Terrisa, at which point I grabbed the woman’s arm and her boyfriend came in and intervened.”

“Her boyfriend came up and grabbed me and was holding onto me,” Gribbin said. He told CNA: “I did make an attempt to fend off the boyfriend who was grabbing me, but I was unsuccessful.”

At that point, he alleges that the man punched him and then knocked him to the ground. When he got up, he said the man threw him to the ground again and punched him repeatedly. The incident was captured on video and shared online.

“He swept my legs,” Gribbin said. “I know he was punching me after he threw me down for a second time and I was on my knees and then he was punching me in the side of my ribcage.”

As this happened, Bukovinac was recording the altercation. She said the woman “came over to grab my phone [and] slapped me in the face.” She said the man also tried to grab her phone from her.

Gribbin said that the man and the woman walked away from the incident before the police responded to the scene. He told CNA he followed them at a safe distance so he could point them out when the police arrived. The police interviewed both suspects.

Bukovinac added that the responding officers initially told her that the police would not press charges because the confrontation was mutual “as if we consented to being assaulted.” She and Gribbin were ultimately contacted by detectives who are investigating the incident, and she said she was assured “there would be consequences.”

Bukovinac added that she believes the police only decided to take the investigation seriously because the incident was shared online. She said the police department’s initial reluctance to investigate reveals an “unequal application of the law.”

A spokesperson for Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department confirmed with CNA that detectives are investigating the incident.

Emergency medical technicians were called to the scene for Gribbin, but he said he did not need to go to the hospital. He said he had bruising on his rib cage area and the side of his body that was punched and feels sore. He said he also skinned his knees and one knee was bleeding. Medical examiners did not find any other injuries.

A pattern of hostility

This isn’t the first time Gribbin was punched for engaging in pro-life activism outside of the Washington, D.C., Planned Parenthood clinic. In late 2019, a man took chalk from Gribbin when he was writing on the sidewalk near the abortion facility. Gribbin tried to prevent the man from fleeing the scene, at which point the man punched him in the head and face.

“A pro-choice man stole the chalk that I was using to write pro-life messages and when I confronted him, he became violent and tackled me and punched me,” Gribbin said.

“Ultimately, the police investigated the situation and though the investigator wanted to get an arrest warrant, the U.S. prosecutor refused to press charges.”

Gribbin, who engages in sidewalk counseling most Saturday mornings to offer life-affirming resources to women and to pray, said verbal altercations and threats are common.

“We get a lot of verbal attacks, in some cases threats, and we definitely face a lot of abuse from passersby,” Gribbin added.

Gribbin also noted that the Planned Parenthood escorts, who volunteer to escort people into the abortion facility, “physically put themselves between us and the people we’re trying to offer information to” and “ridicule and deride us.”

“The escorts are totally complicit,” Bukovinac said.

Bukovinac often joins the other pro-life sidewalk counselors on Fridays and Saturdays because that’s when the escorts are there. She said she engages in some sidewalk counseling but also defends counselors from verbal attacks and threats.

“[I] stand up and defend our community as they defend the babies,” Bukovinac added.

She said most of the incidents are verbal confrontations or threats.

Less than two months ago, on May 26, two elderly pro-life activists were allegedly assaulted outside of a Planned Parenthood facility in Baltimore. In this incident, both men were knocked unconscious for a brief period and one of the men required multiple surgeries.

Previous post

Grandparents Prayer

Next post

New Catholic Charities USA head is laywoman with leadership, philanthropy background


Police investigate alleged attack on pro-lifers outside DC Planned Parenthood