DALLAS — An abolitionist was arrested for refusing to move from a public sidewalk near the University of Texas Dallas Tuesday.
Abolitionist Todd Bullis livestreamed the arrest on his Facebook page. Bullis was standing peacefully on a sidewalk across the street from campus, holding signs and passing out literature.
“(I’m) trying to expose the abortion holocaust here in Texas. 60,000 babies are murdered every year and nobody seems to care or think about it,” Bullis said. “And I’m just trying to expose it, that’s why I was out there.”
The video shows two officers approaching Bullis and asking if he had permission to stand there.
Bullis answered that he was on a public easement, to which one officer replied, “No sir. You are on UT Dallas property.”
“Is this public property?” Bullis asked, and was told, “This is state property.”
Bullis began to ask whether all the passersby had to be granted permission to use the sidewalk, but the officer interrupted to ask for his identification.
Initially Bullis asked why he needed to show his ID to the officer, and asked repeatedly, “How am I trespassing?” He then asked the officers if he was being detained and was told, “Yes.”
The officer told Bullis that under the “education code,” he was required to produce identification, and warned him that if he did not leave the property he would be charged with trespassing.
When Bullis protested that he was not committing a crime, the officer answered, “You actually are sir, because when I tell you to leave and you do not leave, you’re trespassing.”
“I know for a fact that this is a public street,” Bullis said. He asked for clarification from the officers on the law, pointing out that there were no signs or gates indicating that the property was private or forbidding trespassing, and that the campus was open to the public, but the officer told him he could work it out in a court of law.
After he refused to leave the property at their request, the officers placed Bullis under arrest. However, after a phone call that Bullis said took approximately ten minutes, during which time he sat, handcuffed, in the back of the hot police car, the officers released him.
According to Bullis, they offered him a choice: move to the corner at the end of the sidewalk, or face arrest. Bullis again refused. He told the Liberator he had already studied city charts of the area to make sure he would be standing on the public right of way, and was confident he was doing nothing illegal.
He reported that the frustrated officer made a second phone call, then offered him the same deal again, calling it “one last chance.”
When he again refused, the officer made a third call, and finally issued Bullis a trespassing warning.
Bullis said he had already had a confrontation with police at the same campus the previous weekend, during which the officers insisted that there was no public easement.
“If you don’t stand up, they will keep pushing you away,” he said.
He added that he is convinced it is the content of his message, not his location, that the police object to. He plans to fight the trespassing charge in court.