Abortion Clinic Condemns Police After 'Extremist' Fires Gun at Protest Outside Facility

An abortion clinic in North Carolina has criticized local police for giving a "slap on the wrist" to a man who arrived armed at a protest.

The man, who was protesting A Woman's Choice healthcare clinic in Raleigh on Saturday, injured himself after the gun accidentally discharged and struck him in the leg.

The Raleigh Police Department confirmed that officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 3300 block of Drake Circle, where the protest against the abortion clinic was taking place.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found an adult male suffering from a single gunshot wound, who was then transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

"Follow-up investigation revealed that the gunshot was fired from the victim's personal weapon and that the discharge was accidental," the Raleigh Police Department said in a statement.

"After consultation with the District Attorney's office, it was determined that he will be charged with possession of a firearm at a protest."

Following the incident, the clinic questioned why the "anti-abortion extremist" is not facing more severe charges, claiming police also provided "outrageously insufficient" protection that day, including allowing the protest to continue even after the suspect's gun had discharged.

"RPD allowed the protest to continue, and the agitator was given nothing but a slap on the wrist," a spokesperson for the clinic said.

"We have been asking for RPD's support for years and they've been dismissive of the harassment, intimidation, threats, and acts of violence against our staff, volunteers, and patients.

"No one should be blocked from getting health care or be intimidated when they go to a clinic. No one should have to experience this kind of intrusion and harassment at their workplace.

"These tactics anti-abortion extremists engage outside our clinic are intended to shame, frighten, and prevent patients from obtaining the reproductive care that is right for them.

"This atrocious behavior would not be tolerated outside any other medical facility."

Kelsea McLain, founder of the Triangle Abortion Access Coalition, a group of volunteers that works to protect patients from protesters while they enter the clinic, said police "acted like everything was fine and normal" after the gun was fired.

"We are genuinely confused and concerned why the protest was allowed to continue uninterrupted," McLain told the Indy Week.

"We are now at the point where we are very concerned RPD will do nothing to de-escalate and bring safety to the clinic until a patient or a volunteer or staff member is shot."

In an additional statement to Newsweek explaining why the suspect is only facing one charge and why they allowed the protest to continue, the Raleigh Police Department said: "Rules about searching individuals are set by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

"Under the law, police officers may briefly detain an individual and conduct a limited search for weapons when they have reasonable suspicion that the individual is connected to criminal activity in some way and that the individual is armed and presents a threat to safety.

"While RPD Officers maintained a presence throughout the morning and afternoon, they had no information suggesting that anyone else present was connected to criminal activity or that any particular individual was armed and threatened safety.

"RPD investigated the incident and witnesses cooperated in providing details. The suspect was transported for medical care, his weapon seized, and individuals on scene were observed in prayer and other lawful activity.

"Police may issue orders to protesters to disperse when there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic, or other immediate threat to public safety which was not present."

08/03/2021: This article has been updated with comments from Raleigh Police.

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(File photo) A Planned Parenthood clinic escort is seen during a pro-life rally outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Center on June 4, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. A man protesting against an abortion clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina, accidentally shot himself in the leg. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images