One hundred thousand people marched in St. Paul on Saturday but only one person was arrested: an anti-LGBTQ protester. Paul Pearson was arrested on Saturday after an altercation at the Women’s March on Washington – Minnesota event at the Capitol lawn. According to video recorded at the event and several witnesses, Pearson sprayed a chemical irritant into the crowd hitting perhaps a dozen people.

Pearson was formerly part of the Old Paths Baptist Church in Northfield, a vigorously anti-LGBTQ conservative baptist church. An attorney for the church says he was removed or “discipled out some time ago” and a commenter claiming to be a part of the church says it was due to “allegedly criminal and belligerent behavior.

The Column followed the church’s activities early last year in an article titled, “Meet the street preachers harassing ‘sodomites’ in downtown Minneapolis.” Pearson and a group of about a half-dozen men have been protesting LGBTQ events throughout 2016 including Golden Valley Pride the day following a shooting in Orlando, Fla., which took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and injured 53 others many of whom were people of color.

On Saturday, Pearson was standing in the crowd at the event holding a sign that read, “Homo Sex is Sin.” His presence caused a dozen or so people to gather, confront, and dissuade Pearson, including holding up a sign that changed “sin” to “fun.”

In video by Jake Tonsager given to WCCO, Pearson abruptly turns around that sprays everyone within 5 feet of his sign.

In a separate video taken by Awen Briem who was standing near the altercation, Pearson appears to have accidentally sprayed himself and people rush to attend to him as well as his victims.

Briem, in a post on Facebook and used by The Column with permission, noted:

So this guy verbally harassed and condemned us and we put our bodies in harms way to avoid violence. He then managed to spray himself in the face and the people he attacked helped him.
Take all the time you need to think about that. Our community rises above again and again. Despite trauma. Despite violence. Despite hatred and condemnations and bigotry.

According to the the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, he was arrested at 12:15pm on suspicion of felony assault.

Clarification: Old Paths Baptist Church attorney Jerald Finney tells The Column that Pearson was removed from the church “some time ago.” The article has been updated to reflect this new information and we regret the error. However, attempts to contact the church prior to publication were unsuccessful as the phone number listed for the church is out-of-service, and the only publicly available information about Pearson and Old Paths Baptist Church — including Finney’s own website — identified Pearson as part of Old Paths Baptist Church.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Paul Pearson is not a member of OPBC. He was disciplined out of our church for belligerent and criminal behavior about a year ago. For the record, we preach the gospel of salvation to all who are in sin against God. We are pro salvation, not anti anything. We are a church not a political organization. We have never protested anything. Preaching the gospel is not political protest. Please correct your article to reflect the truth. We at OPBC had no part in this event.

  2. What Aaron Marshall stated in his comment is totally true. I also am a member of OPBC and was active in removing Pearson from the church. We would ask that reporters get their facts straight before making a potentially libelous statement.

  3. Hey Aaron didnt know you were still a member. Since some other fool took your video job and Nate Marino being a memory. Man, is the old paths church crashing hard… It’s only a matter if time before the whole church implodes. Nate Marino was the beginning of the end. Lol!!!! And it’s all going to be jasons fault for being arrogant and prideful. Wont be long aaron and you will leave to. And trust me. Ill know about it.

  4. OOOOOooo, I heard all the juicy details about your imploding church, aaron marshall, damn, the irony!! Oh, aaron, I also heard your house is a complete pigstye and you are a huuuuuuge liar. Oh yes, Nate spilled the beans on all of you turds!! And I also heard PJ is next to confess. LOL Damn, this is better than scripted TV. You idiots should have your own reality show

  5. Jerald Finney , the “christian” attourney that represented an Austin drag queen . But wouldn’t lift a hand to help me out in my legal troubles, steming from a fervent public ministery to the lost. That is why I am no longer a member of OPBC. B T W. I sincerly appologize for any physical hurt I may have inflicted on anyone that was there that day and ask for your forgiveness. That whole situation got way out of hand and I am sorry . On the other hand homosexual sex is still a sin just like lying/ bearing false witness or stealing and will eventually wind an individual up in a devils hell. I assure you based on the word of God , this is not the Lord’s will for you. Repent and obey the gospel

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