RPD Busts Preacher

October 1, 2010 • Local News

Police arrested two men Friday night during an outdoor church service at Old Paths Baptist Church, 110 N. Richardson Ave.

Jeremy De Los Santos, 31, who was giving a sermon at the time of his arrest, was charged with disorderly conduct.

De Los Santos was then informed that he was arrested for the content of his ministry, rather than for the noise.

De Los Santos said that he had used the word “hell.”

Also arrested was Eddie De Los Santos, 26, Jeremy’s cousin. Police say Eddie attempted to prevent Jeremy’s arrest. He was warned four times to back away before he was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction, according to the police supplemental report.

A man, who was accompanied by his 5-year-old child, filed the complaint. He was inside the Roswell Police Department for an unrelated reason and reported that he was offended by the [auth] language used when he heard women referred to as whores, said Officer Erica O’Bryon, RPD’s public information officer.

According to Jeremy, the police did not tell them about the complaint until he and Eddie had been arrested. “My brother (Pastor Joshua De Los Santos) spoke with the people, and they said the police asked them after I had been arrested if they had been offended by what had been said, and his answer was ‘no’.”

O’Bryon stated that the supplemental report gave the time of the original complaint, which was made before the arrest.

Jeremy had been arrested previously on similar charges when he took a megaphone and began to preach outside Billy Ray’s Restaurant, 118 E. Third St., said O’Bryon. Jeremy confirmed the previous arrest to the Daily Record.

A video recorder, the megaphone used during the church meeting and a digital camera were booked into evidence.

Jeremy objected to the confiscation of the video camera. “That camera is our proof. It shows we were on private property.”

He explained that four months ago they received permission from former Roswell Police Chief Rob Smith to hold their meetings. Smith checked the noise ordinances and said they were OK as long as they stayed on private property and their outdoor ministry did not continue past 10 p.m.

Following the arrest, Eddie alleges that he asked the officer if he were going to be harassed in the future, and, according to Jeremy, the officer said, “I have tricks and I do them right.”

O’Bryon could neither confirm nor deny this statement. “I don’t know what was said. I wasn’t there.”

Jeremy said Eddie was bruised when he was cuffed.

Jeremy added that when they were transported to the Chaves County Detention Center, and they entered the police car, “There was a mist in the air. The seats were wet and Eddie began to choke, like there was mace or hot pepper spray in the air, and I wondered if these were some of those tricks.”

O’Bryon pointed out that if the car had been sprayed with pepper spray or mace, then the officer also would have been affected.

“They are complaining that the Police Department violated their civil rights. The city attorney has been consulted and is backing us,” O’Bryon said.

Joshua De Los Santos said, “We were on private property. I told them we had the right to preach the word of God.”

He further stated that he had taken his ministry all over the country and he didn’t understand why he had the most problems with the police in his hometown.

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