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Pastor Sues City of Spokane, Claims First Amendment Rights Violated at Drag Queen Story Hour Protest

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KXLY SPOKANE, Wash. – A local pastor and editor of Christian magazine is suing multiple Spokane agencies, claiming they violated his First Amendment rights while he covered a Drag Queen Story Hour event downtown this past summer.

Afshin Yaghtin, the pastor of the New Covenant Baptist Church, filed the lawsuit January 14th against the City of Spokane, Spokane Public Library, Spokane Police Department, Police Chief Craig Meidl and Sergeant Kevin Vaughn.

The Spokane Public Library held two Drag Queen Story Hour events at their south hill and downtown locations during the summer of 2019. DQSH is a nationwide program that invites drag queens to read to children.

In Spokane, both events drew large crowds, including protestors and counter-protestors.

Yaghtin, who is a vocal opponent of DQSH, was present at both. He was arrested on obstruction charges at the South Hill event in June. At the time, Chief Meidl said Yaghtin was repeatedly asked to join protestors across the street from the library, but he refused.

β€œThe gentleman that was arrested was given numerous requests to go to the other side and he refused, to the point where he made a comment, β€˜Well, you’re gonna have to arrest me,’” Meidl said in reference to Yaghtin.

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