POLICE have arrested controversial pastor Tony Spell after he allegedly backed up a bus toward a protester.
An arrest warrant was issued for the Life Tabernacle Church pastor yesterday, as police said they had video evidence showing the alleged incident.
Spell was arrested on Tuesday after he turned himself in, Central Police said.
Video shared by WAFB showed the Louisiana pastor being handcuffed by police.
"Don't take my Bible. Don't take my Bible!" Spell said as he was being arrested.
Chief Roger Corcoran issued the warrant "for aggravated assault (RS 14:37) based on video evidence of an incident that occurred on April 19, 2020," police said Monday night.
Central Police said that Spell allegedly backed up a church bus toward a protester standing in front of the Baton Rouge Church, WAFB reported.
In the video shared on social media, a protester stands outside the church, holding a sign.
A white bus then begins to back up, moving in the direction toward the protester.
The bus then stops just feet away from where the protester stands.
“At first I thought he [Spell] was just turning around his bus and was going to pull away, but he just kept coming in reverse,” said Trey Bennett, the protester told WAFB.
The protester alleges Spell was driving the bus and was being aggressive.
"I could see him [Spell] driving the bus. He was honking his horn loudly at me and making gestures suggesting he was yelling while he was driving. It didn’t seem real until it was physically in my face with a bus,” Bennett told WAFB.
Spell acknowledged to WAFB that he was driving the bus and wanted to confront the protester, but his wife convinced him not to do so.
The Louisiana pastor will now be booked into the Parish Prison, where he faces a charge of aggravated assault and improper backing, police said.
In late March, Central Police announced six misdemeanor charges against Spell – one for each church service he is alleged to have held against governor's orders amid the coronavirus lockdowns.
In addition to the previous charges announced in late March and on Monday, Spell also had outstanding warrants for traffic violations in Zachary and East Baton Rouge Parish, police said.
Investigators said a warrant on aggravated assault charges was also issued for a security guard who allegedly drove a pickup truck on the median toward the same protester, WVLA reported.
Spell has become a controversial figure amid the coronavirus pandemic, as he's continued to hold church services despite stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
On Easter, Spell bragged that services attracted 1,300 worshippers.
When questioned why he's continued to hold services amid the pandemic, Spell told CBS: "Because the Lord told us to."
Spell has refused to halt church services – even as one of his own parishioners died of coronavirus.
The Life Tabernacle pastor denied the coroner's report that the congregant died of COVID-19, however, and said that the man died of a broken heart.
As he's continued to hold church services, Spell launched the "#PastorSpellStimulusChallenge", where he's encouraged people to donate their coronavirus stimulus checks to churches.
Source: Read Full Article