An evangelical preacher who publicly spoke out against sexually transmitted diseases and unsafe sexual practices off campus in Texas was issued a ticket by a police officer for disorderly conduct that offended students.
The preacher, identified only as Joshua who is an intern at Campus Ministry USA, was confronted by police officers on Tuesday off campus at the University of Texas in Austin and was told he would be cited after students complained.
A video of the incident was uploaded online showing a police officer telling the preacher, "We had somebody that was offended by the gestures you were making."
"And that's our job – to make sure that doesn't happen, because these are students just walking in this mall right here. So the job here is to write you up as a citation, disorderly conduct, for offending someone," he added.
Joshua protested and asked how it was against the law to use the term for the male sex organ, according to WND.
"It doesn't matter, freedom of speech. Someone was offended – that's against the law. I don't want to argue with you. That's against the law," the police officer said.
Brother Jed Smock, leader of Campus Ministry USA, told The Daily Caller that Joshua "was speaking out against STDs, warning against anal sex."
"After a lawyer representing Joshua called the chief of police, the chief called Joshua and apologised. The citation was withdrawn." Smock added.
The university later issued a statement to say that the citation had been voided.
"The University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) 'chain of command' has fully reviewed the incident brought to our attention this morning, and has determined that the disorderly conduct citation issued did not meet the intent and requirements of the law, and as such, the citation has been voided," said public information officer Cynthai Posey, according to The Blaze.
She said a review by the university "showed that the officers in training responded to a call for service in good faith and with respect for all parties involved, including the person(s) wishing to file charges as well those being accused."
"The department will use this opportunity to remind us all of the importance of safe-guarding all people's constitutional rights, of which UTPD is fully committed and obligated to defend," she said.
Ari Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said, "The implications for campus expression are dire."
"If offending someone on campus is now grounds for criminal citations, students wishing to express themselves will much more likely censor themselves, or simply refrain from speaking at all," he said.