The Justice Department announced today an indictment charging eight people with federal civil rights offenses and violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
According to court documents, Calvin Zastrow, Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Caroline Davis, Joel Curry, Justin Phillips, Eva Edl and Eva Zastrow are charged with engaging in a civil rights conspiracy and with violating the FACE Act in connection with an August 2020 blockade of a reproductive health care clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan. In addition, Idoni and Edl were also charged with violating the FACE Act in connection with an April 2021 blockade of a reproductive health care clinic in Saginaw, Michigan.
The indictment returned by a federal grand jury alleges that on Aug. 27, 2020, all eight defendants engaged in a conspiracy to prevent the Sterling Heights clinic from providing, and patients there from receiving, reproductive health services. According to the indictment, Gallagher advertised the Sterling Heights clinic blockade on social media, and he and Curry livestreamed the incident. The defendants convened at a location near the Sterling Heights clinic, where an uncharged co-conspirator who recorded the incident announced that the defendants were “going over to stand in front of the door” and “interpose.”
The indictment also alleges that all eight defendants violated the FACE Act by using physical obstruction to intimidate and interfere with the Sterling Heights clinic’s employees and patients, because the clinic’s employees were providing, and the patients were seeking, reproductive health services.
The indictment further alleges that on April 16, 2021, Idoni and Edl again used physical obstruction to intimidate and interfere with patients and employees of the Saginaw clinic because the clinic’s employees were providing, and patients were seeking, reproductive health services.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant Director Luis Queseda of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI Detroit Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Detroit Field Office and Bay City Resident Agency investigated the case.
The Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan are prosecuting the case.
Anyone who has information about incidents of violence, threats and obstruction that target a patient or provider of reproductive health services or damage and destruction of reproductive health care facilities, should report that information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov. For more information about clinic violence, and the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce FACE Act violations, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive-health-care-providers.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.