Trial continued for man arrested at Pride event in Middletown

The jury trial for a Middletown man charged with generating unreasonable noise, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, during the second annual Middletown Pride event has been continued until next month.

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The trial for John M. Williams was scheduled for today, but it has been continued until 10 a.m. Sept. 19 in Middletown Municipal Court, according to court records.

Williams, 42, was arrested on June 21, taken to Middletown City Jail and posted 10 percent of his $1,500 bond, he said. Williams then returned to the event without further incident, he said.

Williams said he, his family and others attended the Pride event to preach against “all sin.”

Williams, who identifies himself as an open-air preacher, said he wasn’t using a megaphone when he was arrested.

MORE: Man says Middletown police were ‘wrong’ to arrest him at Pride event

Earlier, Williams, who is represented by West Chester attorney Tom Kidd, said, “We are looking for justice.”

In the police report, the arresting sergeant wrote he saw Williams carrying an amplified megaphone, something he had been warned against in the past. He wrote that Williams powered on the megaphone, which was slung over his shoulder.

Williams held the megaphone while another person spoke, according to the police report. The sergeant said he could hear the megaphone from about 100 feet away, a violation of the city ordinance.

The city ordinance, in part, says: “No person shall generate or permit to be generated unreasonable noise or loud sounds which is likely to cause inconvenience or annoyance to persons or ordinary sensibilities, by means of a radio, phonograph, television, tape or disc player, loudspeaker or any sound-amplifying device, or by means of any horn, drum, piano or other musical or percussion instrument.”

This is the second time Williams has been confronted by police about his behavior at city events. In July 2014, Williams was warned against using a device to preach during a Broad Street Bash, a downtown concert series. In June 2015, the U.S. District Court of Southern District of Ohio ruled the City of Middletown had “unconstitutionally banned” Williams from “engaging in religious speech.”

The city was told to pay Williams $1 and his attorney fees.

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