Church suing City of Greenville over drive-in church service ban

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GREENVILLE, Miss. (WJTV)– With the coronavirus outbreak, some churches have turned to drive-in services. ​
In Greenville, the mayor put a ban on these types of services where people sit in their car in ​their church parking lot together and listen to their preacher over the radio.​The mayor says the gatherings aren’t safe. the police ​
wrote tickets, costing each person $500. ​

​A Greenville officer writes Chris Owens a ticket in the parking lot of Temple Baptist Church while his preacher gives a sermon over the radio. ​

Preacher: Jesus loved the church! Owens: So even though the governor said today you can’t stop in-parking lot church services y ‘all still gonna try and stop it? ​
Officer: I’m not aware of that sir.​

Attorneys for the church say less than 20 people were there, but eight officers showed up and issued $500 tickets. ​

“To say that the city of Greenville is violating folks rights and we’re not following the constitution and in one statement we’re telling folks to stay at home,” said Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons. “What ​are you saying? Be bold governor — and I am here. My phone is here– This mayor never sent officers to a church. We wouldn’t do that.”​

Mayor Simmons says when he talked to the police chief, the chief told him people were asked to leave and if they didn’t, they got a ticket. The suit says even the pastor was fined. I reached out to the police department and didn’t hear back. The mayor’s order closes all church buildings for in-person and drive-in church services until the State of Mississippi’s shelter in place order is lifted by Governor Tate Reeves. ​
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​Mayor Simmons says for Easter his executive order stays effect. He says he’s looking out for the city. According to the suit, church-goers plan to gather for another drive-in service as they’ve done for the past three weeks.

We’re checking to see if the governor will be in touch with Mayor Simmons

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