CENTRAL, Louisiana — A pastor who previously has defied Louisiana’s stay-at-home order and currently is under house arrest after being accused of threatening to run over a protester with his vehicle still led a service at his church on Sunday.
The Rev. Tony Spell showed off his ankle monitor while preaching Sunday at Life Tabernacle Church, telling those in attendance “I’m not hiding anymore,” NBC News reports. Spell was greeted by cheers from congregants, some of who held signs saying, “I stand with Pastor Spell,” the Advocate reports.
“I’m not hiding anymore,” Spell said, according to NBC News. “It’s a dirty, rotten, crying shame when you have to hide in America.”
CBS News reports nearly all of the estimated 100 congregants were not wearing masks and that social distancing was not being practiced. The state’s stay-at-home order bans gatherings of more than 10 people.
Spell was cited in late March for continuing to hold services despite the ban on large gatherings. Last Sunday, he was cited after he reportedly began backing a bus toward a protester holding a sign, reports say.
The Advocate reports Spell had planned to turn himself in to the parish jail after the service. However, District Attorney Hillar Moore III tells the Advocate he would not pursue the issue because his office was working on a case involving the fatal shooting of a police officer on Sunday in Baton Rouge. Another officer was wounded in the incident.
The Advocate reports at least one church member has died of the coronavirus. A lawyer for the church has become infected. It is unknown how the men became infected.
The Louisiana Health Department on Sunday reported that at least 26,773 coronavirus cases and at least 1,670 deaths from it had been confirmed in the state.
More coverage on cleveland.com:
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.