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Weekly Ministry Focus
Bakersfield Police officer commits theft and battery,
then threatens prosecution against LSM ministry leader
A key ministry tool was stolen from LSM leader Terri Palmquist on Monday, March 20, by Bakersfield
Police Sgt. Roark outside the Family Planning Associates abortion chamber.
Terri's digital voice recorder has become a priceless ministry tool because of the way it
facilities easily documenting events (positive and negative) which take place in the ministry each week.
Voice recorder stolen by Bakersfield Police Officer Sgt. Roark, worth $150, along with extremely valuable personal recordings.
The information made available with the recorder has enabled Terri and her husband Tim to
successfully prepare a defense against various accusations against them, including abortionist Kenneth
Wright's false accusation of a death threat
in 2002 and the bogus trespassing charges in 2004-2005.
"Without the availability of the documentation this recorder provides, we would be sitting ducks for
the false accusations we often face," commented Tim Palmquist. "We also would not have as much information
available for our Weekly Ministry Focus newsletters, and the recorder also helps us to keep track of the
women who have requested our help."
Because of the fact that the Palmquists often face harrassment from hostile police officers, the recorder
is also used to document encounters with police on the public sidewalks. Tim Palmquist was quick to point
out that some BPD officers do conduct their duties professionally without allowing their personal opinions to interfere
with their responsibilities. "Thankfully, not all of the officers are cut from the same cloth," Tim noted, "but sadly
in our experience the officers who conduct their duties professionally have been the exception rather than the
On Tuesday, March 14, the unprofessional behavior of two BPD officers outside the FPA abortion chamber prompted
Terri to call BPD headquarters to complain. Sgt. Roark returned Terri's call, claiming that she was committing
a felony by recording her conversations with police officers on public sidewalks. When Tim spoke
to Lt. Cantrell in the BPD Internal Affairs division about Roark's claims later that day, Cantrell was quick
to assure Tim that conversations on public sidewalks between officers or any other individuals are assumed to be
public and that recording such public conversations is legal. Cantrell stated that Sgt. Roark was
clearly mistaken, although he later said that Roark claimed to have a different version of the facts. Cantrell
encouraged Tim to become familiar with California Penal Code 632 which governs such recordings. Only recordings of conversations
with a reasonable expectation of privacy are prohibited.
BPD Sgt. Roark angrily accosts Terri Palmquist after committing theft and battery against her (note the cars
passing by in what clearly is a public area).
On Monday, March 20, BPD officers were called out on a peace disturbance being
created by a pro-abortion man shouting "choice!" in the parking lot of the FPA abortion chamber. After a brief
discussion with the man, Sgt. Roark confronted Terri as she stood on the sidewalk, asking Terri if she was
recording the conversation. When Terri replied "yes," Roark grabbed Terri's hand (which was holding the
recorder) and twisted it. Roark made no request for Terri to surrender the recorder, nor was there any kind
of warrant for the recorder or its contents.
When officer Sean Underhill, who was nearby, requested Terri to let go of the recorder,
she immediately complied. Later at BPD headquarters, Terri attempted to file a police report for the crimes of theft and
battery, but the desk officer refused to take a report for the crime.
Terri experienced pain in her hand for several minutes after Sgt. Roark's battery. After Roark confiscated the
recorder, Terri informed Roark that another officer had told her husband Tim that recordings of conversations on
public sidewalks are legal. When Terri attempted to call Tim to obtain the name of the officer (which was
Lt. Cantrell), Roark refused to allow her to use her phone. "Am I being detained?" Terri asked.
"Yes," Roark replied. He asked for Terri's ID and informed her that he will be sending the case to the
District Attorney for prosecution. DA Ed Jagels has publicly acknowledged that he has a personal bias
against the Palmquist family in the past, and convictions obtained by Jagels' office in past illegal recording
cases have been overturned by the courts due to prosecutorial misconduct. (Bakersfield journalist
Jerome Valenta was sentenced to over seven years in prison for such a crime, but he was freed after 35 months in
prison when an appelate court threw out the conviction, ruling that the Kern County
District Attorney's office had committed numerous violations
in pursuing the case against him.)
"We have never violated anybody's privacy by recording them," Tim emphasized, "and we never will."
In the meantime, the Palmquists wait to see if District Attorney Jagels will seek to pursue another
series of false charges against them. "We trust God to bring justice, even when the system seems determined
to railroad us," Tim said.
More news from Weekly Ministry Focus Vol. 6 No. 2
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