Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges just days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested him at his home in rural Pennsylvania with a show of force, including dozens of agents with guns.
Now Republican lawmakers are demanding “public and transparent accountability” from the FBI after agents arrested Houck last weekend, using “SWAT-style tactics.”
As CBN’s Faithwire reported, The FBI used a major show of force to arrest Mark Houck, 48, with a swarm of agents reportedly descending on his home with guns drawn as Houck’s wife and children watched in horror.
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The raid came despite the fact that Houck’s attorney Peter Breen says they had offered back in June for Houck to turn himself in to authorities if required.
“We responded in writing… ‘If you are going to indict regardless, we will present our client. Please just send us a summons and we will bring him.’ We did that in June. Made phone calls to the U.S. Attorney. Nothing returned. Next we hear, this Friday morning, is our client is in custody,” Breen told The Glenn Beck radio show.
Instead of handling the potential investigation peacefully, the FBI raided Houck’s home with overwhelming force, terrorizing his wife and children in the process.
His wife Ryan-Marie told LifeSite News that her husband pleaded with the agent while approaching the door. “‘Please, I’m going to open the door, but, please, my children are in the home. I have seven babies in the house.’ But they just kept pounding and screaming,” she said.
She added that they “had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house.”
Houck was arrested Friday after he allegedly shoved 72-year-old Planned Parenthood volunteer, Bruce Love, last October. The family says Love aggressively approached their 12-year-old son and began making obscene comments. Houck intervened and pushed Love to protect his son. Authorities were called, but there was not enough evidence to pursue the altercation further. Love did file a criminal complaint against Houck, but failed to show up in court.
Nearly a year later, Houck was arrested by federal agents in the incident that terrified his family. He’s being accused of violating the FACE Act, which protects abortion clinics, but he was released later that afternoon.
Now, Republican lawmakers are asking for answers from the FBI about the “extreme” raid.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking why the Biden administration “is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists — complete with SWAT-style tactics — while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished.”
“Not only did your office turn a local dispute into a national case, but the FBI reportedly executed the search warrant in as extreme a manner as one can imagine,” Hawley wrote. “Reports state that the FBI sent as many as 20 to 25 agents to conduct the arrest. And the FBI allegedly arrested Houck at gunpoint early in the morning in front of his seven children.”
“Using this kind of force to make an arrest for a single charge of simple assault is unprecedented,” he added.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted that the raid was “absurd” and a “blatant, partisan abuse of power.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said the arrest was an “overreach.”
This appears to be nothing less than a brazen continuation of the abuse of power by federal authorities against average American citizens that must stop,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) told The Daily Signal.
“We owe the American people congressional hearings to provide public and transparent accountability for any and all wrongdoing,” he continued. “Even further, the FBI needs a complete and total overhaul to return primary law enforcement power to the states and to get the Bureau out of the business of politics once and for all.”
Lawmakers and citizens are wondering why the FBI raided Houck’s home but still have not arrested or prosecuted anyone in connection to the more than 140 incidences of firebombing and vandalism on pro-life centers.
“Nobody responsible for the nearly 100 attacks, including firebombs and vandalism, on pro-life pregnancy centers has been charged by the DOJ,” wrote Greg Price, Senior Digital Strategist at XStrategiesLLC. “But a pro-life activist who pushed a Planned Parenthood volunteer threatening his son is now facing 11 years in jail. Two-tiers of justice.”
“Despite my repeated requests, you still have not identified a single prosecution the Department of Justice has taken in response to this epidemic of violence against pro-life Americans,” Sen. Hawley told Attorney General Garland.
A spokesperson from the FBI’s Philadelphia field office told Fox News that raid was not an actual SWAT raid against Houck. “No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved. FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck’s front door, identified themselves as FBI agents, and asked him to exit the residence,” they said. “He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment.”
The family disputes that meek and mild description of the arrest.
A recent statement from the agency said the “number of personnel and vehicles widely reported as being on scene Friday is an overstatement”, but they did not specify the number of agents or whether or not guns were drawn.
“The corruption & abuse of law is out of control,” Hawley tweeted. “Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ & the FBI – from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents. What Biden is doing is wrong. And dangerous.”
“You’ve got all these instances of overreach and it’s concerning to us all,” he told Fox News. “These are all things we ought to be looking into.”
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